Already under fire for its handling of the Ebola outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped another bombshell when it was revealed that ill nurse Amber Vinson checked with the agency before boarding a flight from Cleveland to Dallas.
The CDC told ABC News they deemed it OK because she wasn’t throwing up:
A Dallas nurse who treated an Ebola patient contacted federal health officials before boarding a passenger flight Monday due to a slightly elevated temperature, but was allowed to board the flight because she was not exhibiting additional symptoms of Ebola.
Amber Vinson’s temperature was 99.5 degrees – below the 100.4 reading for a fever, according to a federal official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A fever is one of the symptoms of Ebola. Other symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. She was not asked to avoid boarding the flight.
“The patient was not showing any other symptoms while on board the plane – no vomiting or diarrhea. The only symptom Amber was showing was the fever,” CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told ABC News.
Airline officials concurred, stating that Vinson’s only symptom at the time was the slightly elevated temperature. Vinson’s temperature continued to rise after the plane landed, authorities said.
CDC Director Tom Frieden told CNN that Vinson “should have never gotten on that flight.”
And Frontier Airlines is paying for that CDC decision as well, reports NBC:
The airline that unknowingly transported an Ebola-stricken nurse on a flight from Ohio to Texas has placed six crew members on paid leave out of “an abundance of caution,” and said it was warned by health officials about “the possibility” that the passenger had symptoms during the flight.
Frontier Airlines CEO David Siegel said in a letter to employees that the airline was told by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday that nurse Amber Vinson “may have been symptomatic earlier than initially suspected; including the possibility of possessing symptoms while onboard the flight.” The airline says no symptoms were detected by the crew.
Needless to say, lawmakers from both parties aren’t happy.
CDC says sure, go ahead and fly. Even with a fever and having been exposed to Ebola. Ridiculous. http://t.co/smXnkDet8h
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) October 16, 2014
Knowing one exposed nurse already got Ebola, WHY would CDC let another fly, specially since she had low fever!! http://t.co/5zWJOePalh
— Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) October 16, 2014