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Second Texas hospital worker tests positive for Ebola, flew on airplane

Updated at 12:23 p.m. EDT

A second hospital worker who had been caring for the first diagnosed Ebola patient in the United States has tested positive for the virus. She flew on Frontier Airlines the day before she reported symptoms, and passengers on the flight were being contacted, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

President Barack Obama decided to cancel his political travel to New Jersey and Connecticut to instead meet with his Cabinet on the Ebola outbreak, according to the White House.

The health care worker reported a fever on Tuesday and was immediately isolated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a statement.

The worker had been caring for Thomas Eric Duncan after he was diagnosed with Ebola. He later died.

The first hospital worker diagnosed with Ebola after treating Duncan was Nina Pham, who is reported to be “clinically stable.” She and others attending to Duncan after his diagnosis were wearing protective gear.

The second worker, who hasn’t been identified, was interviewed quickly to identify any contacts or potential exposures. Those in contact with the individual will be notified and monitored for possible symptoms of the virus.

“We want to deal with facts, not fear,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings at a Wednesday morning press briefing. “It may get worse before it gets better, but it will get better.”

At the briefing, it was revealed that the second diagnosed worker is a woman.

Later, the CDC confirmed the diagnosis and said the patient had traveled by air Oct. 13, the day before she reported symptoms. The CDC’s statement reads:

Because of the proximity in time between the evening flight and first report of illness the following morning, CDC is reaching out to passengers who flew on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth Oct. 13.

CDC is asking all 132 passengers on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on October 13 (the flight route was Cleveland to Dallas Fort Worth and landed at 8:16 p.m. CT) to call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636). After 1 p.m. ET, public health professionals will begin interviewing passengers about the flight, answering their questions, and arranging follow up. Individuals who are determined to be at any potential risk will be actively monitored.

The healthcare worker exhibited no signs or symptoms of illness while on flight 1143, according to the crew. Frontier is working closely with CDC to identify and notify passengers who may have traveled on flight 1143 on Oct. 13. Passengers who may have traveled on flight 1143 should contact CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).

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