Health and Science

Ohio officials: Ebola-stricken nurse 'conscientious'

Doctor says 'no system foolproof' in containing Ebola

The Texas nurse who flew on a commercial airliner before being diagnosed with Ebola was very "conscientious" about the risk of potentially infecting others, Ohio officials said on Thursday.

In a press conference about the Summit County, Ohio, response to Ebola worries, multiple health-care officials said Amber Vinson virtually self-quarantined because she was aware of the risk that she may have contracted the deadly virus.

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"She was a health-care worker who knew that she had been potentially exposed...She was a very conscientious person, that she did not take undo risks, she seemed to limit her activity here, which I am very grateful for," said Summit County Public Health Medical Director Marguerite Erme. "It appears to be that she took her responsibility as having been potentially exposed very seriously. And I think that is a credit to her."

Gene Nixon, the Summit County health commissioner also described Vinson, who reportedly flew to Ohio to help plan a wedding, as "very conscientious" because interviews suggest "she was very careful" around her family and others.

Since Vinson has been diagnosed, the CDC has admitted she should not have flown while experiencing a minor fever—despite her having been told by the organization she could get on a plane.

Amber Vinson
Source: Amber Vinson | Twitter

In fact, despite arriving in Ohio on Oct. 10 and leaving three days later, Vinson only made one significant journey outside the home where she was staying, authorities said.

"I want to make clear: She was not at football games, she was not at restaurants, she was not at a pizza parlour, she was not at the grocery store, she was in her home," Nixon said.

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The one trip involved a local retail establishment that Erme declined to identify. The store is now voluntarily closed, she said, and public health officials are in contact with its owners to determine their potential level of risk.

All told, Erme said Ohio officials have identified and spoken with at least five possible contacts in Summit—all of whom are under voluntary quarantine—and two more in Cuyahoga County.

Vinson's mother is currently being monitored in Texas, Erme said, although she has not developed any symptoms.

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