October 14th, 2014
09:19 PM ET

Nurse's friend: Ebola patient Nina Pham was wearing full hazmat suit

At least 76 more health care workers in Dallas are now being monitored for Ebola. The Centers for Disease Control say that's the number who may have come into contact with Ebola patient Thomas Duncan.

Ebola outbreak: Get up to speed with the latest developments

CNN is also learning new details about the Dallas nurse, Nina Pham, who is infected with Ebola. In interview with CNN's Erin Burnett, her close friend and former colleague Jennifer Joseph said Pham was wearing a full hazmat suit when treating Duncan.

So how was she able to contract the deadly virus?

The director of the CDC today admitted the agency could have done more to prevent Pham from contracting the virus:

"I wish we had put a team on the ground the day the first patient was diagnosed. That may have prevented this infection," Dr. CDC Director Tom Frieden said.

Pham's friends have set up a fundraising site for her. CLICK HERE to donate.

Filed under: Ebola • Health • News
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. David Sanchez

    But Obama said it's not as contagious as people think.

    October 21, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  2. John-117

    Wearing a full hazmat suit means nothing if you don't take it off properly. Not a very easy thing to do.

    October 19, 2014 at 8:49 am | Reply
  3. AmatureDoctor

    Most who catch Ebola start with a symptom of a sore throat. That means that the first immune organ that was activated were the tonsils. This strongly suggests that the virus exposure came through the mouth or nose. In the case of the nurse from the Dallas/Ohio flight, the first symptom was not a sore throat. So the nurse either had her tonsils removed or the virus did not enter through the mouth or nose. I would be interested to know if the nurse had some blemish in the exposed neck area, or a cut on her hand.

    October 17, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Reply
    • Jeffrey E Ehrlich MD

      The amateur part of your name is accurate. Having your tonsils removed has nothing to do with whether her first symptom was a sore throat. Please leave diagnosis to the professionals. Medical school would be a lot shorter and cheaper if you could pick up enough info watching reruns of ER. The lesson to be learned here is that (unlike terrorism) with epidemics, the mantra that, "we should fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here," really applies, and makes friends for the US instead of enemies. If the CDC had an adequate budget to prepare a vaccine against ebola, and had been directed from the beginning of this epidemic to fully fight this disease in Africa, we wouldn't be talking about this now. There is a need for adequate government services, especially in the area of public health, and we are doomed to repeat this until people here grow up and stop cutting, and start funding medical care and research.

      October 20, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  4. Michelle

    I asked the same questions about the doctors in Africa and everyone thought I was crazy. Why are the catching the disease when they are suited in full HAZMAT?

    October 17, 2014 at 9:39 am | Reply
  5. john

    We are screwed. God help us. Budda, Allah, all of them help us we're fn screwed

    October 16, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Reply
  6. Alastor

    "Hazmat suit"? What on God's green Earth are you babbling about?

    "Hazmat" is a portmanteau of "Hazardous" and "Material"; the suits primarily protect against chemicals, and even then there are various ratings depending upon the protection the provide. Even if Pham was wearing a Level D Hazmat suit, she wouldn't be fully protected against biological agents. The best you can do there is a Positive Pressure Personnel suit (PPPS), which totally encapsulates the wearer and is inflated with high-pressure air to keep anything from getting through any holes or tears in the material.

    It's fairly clear to me that neither the interviewer nor the interviewee are particularly versed in highly specialized PPE.

    October 16, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Reply
    • IDS

      Thank God someone here understand there is NO WAY IN HELL she was wearing a hazmat suit. Not at all the kind of suits BSL4 workers wear.

      October 20, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Reply
    • jdoe

      Yeah. We all should be well-versed in the particulars of specialized PPE.

      October 20, 2014 at 11:10 pm | Reply
  7. antano1970

    Bringing someone with that bug back to the US was a big mistake and someone should be held accountable.

    October 16, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Reply
  8. W. L. Lanham

    How many Liberians flew into the United States today? How many are infected with ebola? How many rapid response teams csn the CDC put together? When east African cases hit 100,000 how many Liberians will want to board planed to the US? How many of those will tell the truth about their potential exposure? This could turn into a pandemic in the US and apparently President Obama is concrrened his fund raising and golf may be impacted.

    October 15, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Reply
  9. Dorothy Bennett

    I'm confused. If the second nurse should not have taken that commercial plane, should she or any other health care worker who was or is in contact with an ebola patient (including doctors, clerks, etc.) be going home, eating in a restaurant , grocery shopping, standing in line at a bank or food truck, etc.! The restrictions are not constant.

    October 15, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Reply
  10. Jack Chang

    Viruses can mutate. Perhaps Ebola can also be transmitted by air-borne contamination as well as through body fluids. Am wondering What kind of air filtration system does this hospital and hazmat suits have?

    October 15, 2014 at 10:44 am | Reply
  11. Bookratt

    Triple gloving is against CDC protocol, but the nurses in the US cases, where they apparently got Ebola during de-robing or improper suiting up, did just that. They wore triple shoe covers, also against CDC protocol. And the suits and masks they wore, were allowed to be chosen by the nurses themselves, not mandated for them to wear and some did not conform to CDC protocol for fluid proof garments. In one of the rooms they stacked bio waste that was hazardous to the health, almost to the ceiling in the corner of a room, as they worked on him; then they walked in and out of other patient's rooms who did not have Ebola, as they continued to care for the infected patient–also against CDC guidelines. How is any of this the CDC's fault when they set guidelines for safety, but no one follows them?

    October 15, 2014 at 8:55 am | Reply
  12. TheeSnapper

    At every turn Obama and his administration has worked to destabilize and weaken our country. This is the latest example of his clueless leadership, allowing a disease classified as a biological weapon to be brought in our country instead of isolating it, at its source.

    October 14, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Reply
    • Jeffrey E Ehrlich MD

      If anyone here is to blame then it's the Republican leadership who cut funding on an ebola vaccine years ago. Ebola is a dangerous disease but it is not a bio-weapon. Get a grip. We had one person fly in who was unknowingly incubating the disease. A local doctor missed the diagnosis, and two nurses contracted the disease from him. No one knows how they contracted it, and whether it was from improper precautions on their part, or a piece of defective equipment. If history from other infectious diseases is any indication, then these nurses probably contracted this from him before the diagnosis of ebola was confirmed. Rather than jump on your ideological bandwagon and seek to blame Obama, how about looking to see what constructive changes need to be made in our health care system? What we need is proper funding of medical research and preventative care here, and foreign aid to countries with epidemics like this, BEFORE the disease becomes a direct threat to the US.

      October 20, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Reply

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