CDC Director on Ebola: 'Even a single infection is unacceptable' - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

CDC Director on Ebola: 'Even a single infection is unacceptable'

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Dr. Tom Frieden spoke Monday after a nurse in Dallas became the first person to catch the disease within the United States. NBC photo Dr. Tom Frieden spoke Monday after a nurse in Dallas became the first person to catch the disease within the United States. NBC photo
By Elizabeth Chuck, NBC News

(NBC News) - The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that he was "confident" the spread of Ebola could be stopped, a day after a test confirmed a Dallas nurse had been infected while caring for a Liberian national in her hospital.

"We have to rethink the way we address Ebola infection control, because even a single infection is unacceptable," Dr. Tom Frieden said.

The nurse's identity has not been made public. Frieden said Sunday that the first case of person-to-person Ebola transmission to happen on U.S. soil was the result of a "breach of protocol," but clarified Monday that he in no way meant to place blame on the sickened nurse by his comment.

"This is a very brave person who put herself at risk to do something good for society, and is now ill," he said.

All health care workers need to be well-trained to deal with potential Ebola patients in their hospitals, he said.

"Stopping Ebola is hard. We're working together to make it safer and easier," he said.

"Together I'm confident that we will stop it. What we all need to do is take responsibility for improving the safety of those on the front lines," he added.

Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., died last Wednesday at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Dr. Daniel Varga of Texas Health Resources, which owns Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, said that the nurse got infected despite wearing full protective equipment, which included a gown, gloves, mask and shield.

All hospitals must be prepared for potential Ebola patients, Frieden said, and must take travel histories and look for telltale symptoms of the virus.

"We'll work with hospitals throughout the country to think Ebola," he said.

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