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CDC Director: Ebola Controls need to be Reassessed

Update Date: Oct 14, 2014 10:59 AM EDT
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After the nurse who treated the Ebola patient in Dallas, TX tested positive for the virus, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated in a news conference that medical experts might need to reassess how they are addressing highly infectious diseases within the nation.

 "We have to rethink the way we address Ebola infection control. Even a single infection is unacceptable," the director Dr. Thomas Frieden said according to Reuters. "The care of Ebola is hard. We're working to make it safer and easier."

Health officials are currently investigating how the nurse could have been infected while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The nurse, Nina Pham, 26, took preventive measures when caring for Duncan, who passed away from the disease last week. Pham is considered "clinically stable."

On Sunday, some statements were made that hinted to the idea that Pham was to blame. The remarks suggested that Pham had breached protocol and exposed herself to the virus. With no evidence to support these claims, Frieden has since apologized.

"The facts are not known about how the nurse in Dallas was exposed," the Texas Nurse Association stated. "It is incorrect to assume that the nurse failed to follow protocols."

During the conference, Frieden outlined new procedures that have already been enforced to better control the virus. These changes included adding staff to monitor the medical team when they put on and take off protective gear and retraining the team on how to put on and take off the gear correctly. The officials are also considering other steps, such as using a new kind of protective gear and spraying down the medical team to kill the virus more effectively

"There are a series of things that are already implemented in the past 24 hours," Dr. Frieden said according to the New York Times. "If this one individual was infected, and we don't know how within the isolation unit, then it is possible that other individuals could have been infected as well."

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that there have been more than 4,000 deaths linked to Ebola.

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