A Dallas health care worker diagnosed with the Ebola virus over the weekend was identified Monday as nurse Nina Pham, her family confirmed.
Pham, 26, became infected while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient to die in the United States. Pham, who graduated from Texas Christian University’s nursing program in 2010, is the first person known to contract the disease while in the United States.
Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday Pham was « clinically stable. »
Frieden also apologized to officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. He said his comments Sunday that Pham’s infection was the result of a « breach of protocol » did not reflect on Pham or the hospital’s efforts.
« I apologize if people thought I was criticizing the hospital, » Frieden said at a press conference Monday. « And I feel awful that a health care worker became infected while helping an Ebola patient. »
More than 4,000 people have died in the Ebola outbreak, the vast majority of them in the West African nations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan issued a statement Monday at a conference in Manila calling the outbreak « the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times. »
« The outbreak spotlights the dangers of the world’s growing social and economic inequalities, » Chan added. « The rich get the best care. The poor are left to die. »
She said the outbreak is disrupting economies and societies around the world. She said 90% of economic costs of any outbreak « come from irrational and disorganized efforts of the public to avoid infection. »
An expert in infectious diseases says the Ebola outbreak is cause for concern but should not trigger an ‘epidemic of fear’. (Oct. 10) AP