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2nd Texas health worker gets Ebola

By Agencies in Washington and Fortworth, Texas | China Daily | Updated: 2014-10-16 08:03

Infected caregiver also helped treat Liberian man who was at hospital

A second health worker at the Texas hospital where the first case of Ebola contamination on US soil occurred has tested positive for the disease, the state government said on Wednesday.

Like the first case, the second concerned a caregiver who treated a Liberian Ebola sufferer who later died at the Dallas hospital, the Texas Department of State Health Services said.

The second worker came down with a fever on Tuesday and was isolated at the hospital right away.

"Health officials have interviewed the latest patient to quickly identify any contacts or potential exposures, and those people will be monitored," the health department said in a statement.

Both of the health workers had cared for Ebola sufferer Thomas Duncan, who is thought to have contracted the disease while still in Liberia, and who died on Oct 8.

The latest case came as the head of the United States' top-disease fighting agency admitted that the government wasn't aggressive enough in managing Ebola and containing the virus as it spread from an infected patient from Liberia to a nurse at a Dallas hospital.

"We could've sent a more robust hospital infection control team and been more hands-on with the hospital from day one about exactly how this should be managed," said Dr Tom Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Frieden outlined new steps designed to stop the spread of the disease, including the creation of an Ebola response team, increased training for healthcare workers nationwide and changes at the Texas hospital to minimize the risk of more infections.

2nd Texas health worker gets Ebola

"I wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the patient - the first patient - was diagnosed. That might have prevented this infection," Frieden said, referring to the nurse.

The stark admission came as the World Health Organization projected the pace of new infections accelerating in West Africa to as many as 10,000 cases a week within two months.

Soldier tests positive

In West Africa, a Sierra Leone soldier tested positive for Ebola, although a government spokesman said he is not a member of, and had no contact with, a battalion of peacekeepers waiting to deploy to Somalia, a government spokesman said. Meanwhile, Liberia's transportation minister said she was voluntarily isolating herself inside her home after her driver died of Ebola.

The two situations underscore the precautions being taken to minimize the spread of the deadly disease, and the risks inherent in the movement of people.

In another example of the disease's relentless march, Doctors Without Borders said on Tuesday that 16 of its staff members have been infected with Ebola and that nine have died.

In Europe, the WHO said the death rate in the outbreak has risen to 70 percent as it has killed nearly 4,500 people, most of them in West Africa. The previous mortality rate was about 50 percent.

Anthony Banbury, head of the United Nations mission for Ebola, told the UN Security Council that the global response to the Ebola crisis must meet critical goals by Dec 1 to ensure about 7,000 treatment beds and 500 specially equipped burial teams "or face an entirely unprecedented situation for which we don't have a plan".

Fiji will stop sending peacekeeping police officers to Liberia due to the Ebola crisis in Africa, the South Pacific island country's police chief said on Wednesday.

Ben Groenewald, commissioner of the Fiji Police Force, said that the first lot of officers is expected back in Fiji at the end of next month, with the last batch to return in May.

Twenty-seven Fijian police officers are serving with the United Nations mission in Liberia, according to the government-owned Fiji Broadcasting Corp.

AFP - AP - Xinhua

(China Daily 10/16/2014 page12)

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