Health-care worker Amber Joy Vinson, who is being treated for Ebola, reportedly knew she had a low-grade fever before she boarded a plane on Oct. 13 from Cleveland, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas, authorities say – and the plane she took continued to carry passengers to three states before it was cleaned.

Vinson flew on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth. The flight landed at 8:16 p.m. CT.

According to KTVT-TV, that same plane was used for five more flights before it was removed from service Tuesday. Those flights included:

  • A return flight to Cleveland,
  • Cleveland to Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL),
  • FLL to Cleveland,
  • Cleveland to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL),
  • and ATL to Cleveland.

Fox News reported the plane that transported Vinson was then cleaned twice and put back into service for a flight to Denver, Colorado, Wednesday.

“Although she (Vinson) did not report any symptoms and she did not meet the fever threshold of 100.4, she did report at that time she took her temperature and found it to be 99.5,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden.

Frieden said the fact that Vinson had a mild temperature and had been exposed to the virus when she treated Ebola patient Thomas Duncan should have prevented her from ever getting on the plane alongside 132 other passengers. According to medical records obtained by the Associated Press, Vinson had been exposed to Duncan’s body fluids, inserted his catheters and drew his blood.

Frieden said people who have been exposed to Ebola should not fly on commercial planes.

“I don’t think that changes the level of risk of people around her,” he added. “She did not vomit, she was not bleeding, so the level of risk of people around her would be extremely low.”

Frieden said the other 75 health-care workers who treated Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital will not be permitted to fly.

Vinson is the second health worker at Presbyterian Hospital to contract Ebola after caring for Duncan, who died last week.

Meanwhile, the Federalist reports President Obama already has an “Ebola czar,” Dr. Nicole Lurie – and she’s was reportedly involved in a major scandal three years ago in which federal funding was directed to a company with ties to a Democrat donor and away from a company that was developing treatments for Ebola.

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Other developments Wednesday included:

  • The CDC said Vinson will be taken to Emory Hospital in Atlanta for treatment. Emory is where Ebola patients Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were treated and released in August.
  • Nina Pham, the first person to contract Ebola in the U.S. and a nurse at Presbyterian Hospital, is isolated and remains in good condition at the hospital.
  • National Nurses Unites, a nurse’s union, complained that health workers in Dallas were “left to train each other” and continued treating other patients after treating Duncan. “There was no advanced preparedness on what to do with the patient,” the union said in a statement. “There was no protocol, there was no system. The nurses were asked to call the Infectious Disease Department. The Infectious Disease Department did not have clear policies to provide either.”
  • President Obama canceled a fundraising trip to call Cabinet members for a meeting on Ebola.
  • Obama reassured Americans that the government’s strategy of identifying, isolating and monitoring contacts of Ebola patients is working. He said, “I shook hands with, hugged, and kissed, not the doctors, but a couple of the nurses at Emory because of the valiant work that they did. In treating one of the patients, they followed the protocols, they knew what they were doing, and I felt perfectly safe doing so.”

Related column:

Ebola math by Dr. Brian C. Joondeph

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