Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden warned Sunday that the transmission of Ebola from a patient to a Texas health worker means there is a risk the virus has been transmitted to others, and said the CDC is now scrambling to determine which other workers might be at risk.
"Unfortunately, it is possible in the coming days that we will see additional cases of Ebola," Frieden said Sunday morning. "This is because the health care workers who cared for this individual may have had a breach of the same nature of the individual who appears now to have a preliminary positive test."
Frieden said officials are now trying to figure out how many people the unnamed female nurse may have been in contact with while she was infectious, after helping to treat the now-deceased Thomas Duncan. Those contacts will added to the several dozen people already being monitored — but for now, he said the CDC is not sure how many more people to add.
Frieden said the risk of Ebola is in "the 48 people who are being monitored, all of whom have been tested daily, none of whom so far have developed symptoms or fever, and in any other health care workers who may have been exposed to this index patient while he was being cared for."
"We're still determining how many health care workers that will be," he said. "That is an intensive investigation. It takes many hours of tracing steps."
The existence of a second case of Ebola in the United States, and the possibility of more, is likely to once again raise the question of whether the U.S. should ban people from the U.S. who are traveling from West Africa. On Sunday, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said the Obama administration should be looking at suspending visas from people in West Africa.