Second Ebola nurse, Amber Vinson, 'felt funny' while in Ohio, CDC says

Dylan Stableford
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The home of Theodore Wilbur, boyfriend of Kaci Hickox, the nurse who was released from New Jersey's mandatory quarantine for certain travelers from Ebola-stricken West Africa, is seen in Fort Kent, Maine, October 28, 2014. REUTERS/Joel Page

The home of Theodore Wilbur, boyfriend of Kaci Hickox, the nurse who was released from New Jersey's mandatory quarantine for certain travelers from Ebola-stricken West Africa, is seen in Fort Kent

A Texas nurse who has Ebola indicated she "felt funny" and spent extra time resting during a visit to Ohio in the days before she was diagnosed in Dallas, a CDC official said Friday.

Amber Joy Vinson, 29, who was diagnosed with Ebola this week, didn't experience typical symptoms of Ebola at the time of her trip to Ohio on Oct. 10, the CDC's Dr. Chris Braden said. But health officials can't rule out the possibility that her illness began last Saturday, or possibly earlier.

Vinson, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, had treated the Liberian man who died of Ebola. The timing of her symptoms is important because people infected with Ebola aren't considered contagious until they have symptoms.

Before returning to Dallas Monday, Vinson's family said she called Texas health officials who relayed her symptoms to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

She was running a slightly elevated temperature — 99.5 degrees — but since it fell below the 100.4 reading for a fever, she was allowed to travel, her family said.

“They called Amber back and told her, ‘The CDC is OK with it. You can travel,” Lawrence Vinson, Amber's uncle, told ABC News.

Officials in Ohio are working to identify anyone who may have come into contact with Vinson during her brief stay in the state.

According to Summit County Public Health officials, 12 people are being monitored in northeast Ohio, including Vinson's family members, but none is experiencing symptoms.

"We have no cases of Ebola virus in Summit County," Dr. Margo Erme declared at a news conference Friday.

Vinson, who is planning her wedding, arrived in Cleveland on a Frontier Airlines flight from Dallas on Oct. 10, and stayed at the home of her mother and stepfather in Tallmadge, Ohio, northeast of Akron.

Coming Attractions, an Akron bridal shop Vinson visited on Saturday, was closed Thursday as health officials sought to identify anyone who was in the store when Vinson was there.

The store's owner, Anna Younker, told WEWS-TV that Vinson had already purchased her wedding gown from the store and was shopping for bridesmaids' dresses.

"I would never have known that she was ill," Younker said. "There was no coughing, sneezing — nothing like that."

She added that none of the store's employees was experiencing signs of illness. Nonetheless, Summit County Health officials are asking anyone who was at the store between noon and 3:30 p.m. Saturday to contact them at (330) 926-3939.

According to CBS News, at least one school in the Akron area was closed "amid concerns that some parents or employees had been in in close proximity to Vinson or the plane she flew on."

But on Friday, Erme said school closings were unnecessary.

"There is no need to cancel schools or other events," she said, because Vinson did not visit any schools and Ebola patients are not infectious until they develop symptoms.

Vinson was diagnosed with Ebola on Wednesday and transferred to Emory University hospital in Atlanta, one of four hospitals in the country specially equipped to handle Ebola cases. She is in stable condition.

On Thursday, the CDC said it was broadening its search for contacts on information that Vinson might have been experiencing symptoms before Saturday.

"[We have] started to look at the possibility that she had symptoms going back as far as Saturday," Dr. Chris Braden of the CDC told reporters. "But some more information that’s come through recently, we can’t rule out that she might have had the start of her illness Friday.

On Wednesday, Frontier Airlines asked that anyone on Monday's Flight 143 from Cleveland to Dallas-Fort Worth contact the CDC. On Thursday, the airline said it was contacting passengers on seven flights — including the two Vinson took and five others that used the same planes.

According to the Associated Press, 18 nurses from Cleveland and Canton who were on Vinson's Friday flight were placed on paid leave as a precaution.

At Kent State, Vinson's alma mater, three employees related to to the nurse have been asked to remain off campus for 21 days.

Vinson is one of two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital diagnosed with Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who later died of the virus. Vinson and 26-year-old Nina Pham, the other nurse who contracted Ebola, were among 77 hospital workers who treated Duncan before his death.