Third Dallas Ebola patient was on plane the day before becoming sick

The CDC says she never should have been allowed to board a commercial flight

By Joanna Rothkopf
Published October 15, 2014 6:00PM (EDT)
Scanning electron microscopic image of Ebola virions                                                         (Public Library of Science)
Scanning electron microscopic image of Ebola virions (Public Library of Science)

The second Dallas healthcare worker to be diagnosed with Ebola, now identified as Amber Vinson, was reportedly on a plane the day before her symptoms presented themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now looking to get in touch with all 132 passengers who were on the plane with her.

She was on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on Oct. 13, which landed on Monday at 8:16 p.m. CT.

According to reports, she exhibited no symptoms while on the flight although she told officials that she had had a low-grade fever of 99.5 degrees.

CNN reports:

Earlier, she flew from Dallas-Fort Worth to Cleveland on Frontier Flight 1142 on October 10.

The airline said customers who may have traveled on either flight should contact the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636). But the CDC statement, contained in the same news release, said the CDC wanted to speak only with passengers of the October 13 flight. The CDC later confirmed to CNN that it is "only interested" in the passengers on Flight 1143.

The October 13 flight was cleaned thoroughly after it landed, "per our normal procedures which is consistent with CDC guidelines," the airline said. After the airline was informed of the Ebola patient, the plane was removed from service.

According to CDC officials, Vinson should not have traveled on a commercial plane since she had helped treat Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who recently died from the virus in Dallas. In the future, the CDC said it would ensure nobody who potentially had the disease would travel.

Vinson is currently in isolation, but will be transferred to Emory University in Atlanta later today.

Nina Pham, the first healthcare worker to be diagnosed with Ebola is reportedly in good condition, saying in a statement: "I'm doing well and want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers."

Joanna Rothkopf

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Amber Vinson Dallas Ebola Flight Frontier Airlines