Reports: Ebola patient gets blood transfusion

DALLAS — A Dallas nurse diagnosed with the Ebola virus over the weekend has reportedly received a blood transfusion from Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly.

The nurse is a Texas Christian University graduate identified by a family member as 26-year-old Nina Pham.

Father Jim Khoi, who is Pham's pastor, told News 8 that she has now received a blood transfusion from a "good" and "devoted" man who survived Ebola.

Sources close to Brantly told ABC News that he made the blood donation on Sunday after being asked by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where Pham had been providing care for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S.

Brantly was working with Ebola patients in Liberia when he fell ill in July. The Fort Worth physician was airlifted to an Atlanta hospital, where he recovered. He had previously provided his blood to at least two other Ebola patients.

Officials say the hospital asked him to donate blood to Duncan, but he was not a match.

Khoi said Pham is in good spirits, using Skype to communicate with her mom, and asking for prayers.

At a traditional Monday night Mass at Our Lady of Fatima Church, he asked for prayers and support for Pham. The family is a long time presence at the church.

Her family reached out to News 8 Monday morning and shared an image of the nurse, who grew up in Fort Worth.

A health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, Pham became infected while treating Duncan, who died from the virus days before the nurse's diagnosis.

Pham graduated from TCU's nursing program in 2010 and is the first person to contract the disease while in the Unites States.

She was diagnosed with the virus after she reported a low-grade fever.

One person was identified to have been around Pham while she was potentially infectious. That person is under daily monitoring by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has showed no symptoms of the virus.

"The existence of the first case of Ebola spread in the U.S. changes some things, and it doesn't change other things," said Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, during a news conference Monday. "It doesn't change the fact that we know how Ebola spreads. It doesn't change the fact that it's possible to take care of Ebola safely. But it does change substantially how we approach it."

Frieden said change is necessary because "even a single infection is unacceptable."

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The CDC continues to monitor 48 other people, 10 of whom were confirmed to have had contact with Duncan, who was diagnosed with Ebola after traveling from Liberia to Dallas. Frieden says none of the individuals being monitored have exhibited a fever or any other symptoms.

"This is consistent with what we know about Ebola — that people aren't sick when they don't have symptoms, and the sicker they get, the more infectious they may become because the amount of virus in their body increases," Frieden said.

Frieden added that the CDC is also monitoring other health care workers who treated Duncan while at Texas Health Presbyterian. The process of identifying all those who may have had contact with Duncan during his treatment is still underway.

STORY: Dozens of hospital workers cared for Duncan

"The team worked hard through the day yesterday into the night yesterday and are still actively working today to interview each one of the large number of health care workers who might potentially had contact with [Duncan] while he was hospitalized," he said.

Frieden says this is important as they haven't identified how Pham contracted the disease.

"So, we consider them to potentially be at risk and we're doing an in-depth review and investigation," he said.

The director of the CDC said his organization is also investigating the process in which Duncan was isolated and treated to determine how Pham became became infected. One focus of the investigation is how to safely handle equipment and protective gear used during and after the treatment of an infected patient.

"Because if it's contaminated, there's the possibility the worker will contaminate themselves," Frieden said.

After Pham's diagnosis, an additional crew was sent to assist with a CDC team already sent to Dallas after the diagnosis of Duncan.

Frieden also urged hospitals across the nation to "think Ebola," and watch for patients with fever or symptoms of the virus who have traveled from the three Ebola-stricken African nations in the past 21 days.

In an interview with WFAA Monday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the King Charles Spaniel named Bentley owned by Pham will not be killed.

"When I met with her parents, they said, 'This dog is important to her, judge; Don't let anything happen to the dog," he said. "If that dog has to be The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, we're going to take good care of that dog."

Bentley has been moved to an undisclosed location and is under the care of Dallas Animal Services.

Family friend Tom Ha said Nina Pham is a "hero" to the Vietnamese-American community and that her family is devoutly Catholic with a strong desire to serve humanity and a history of serving the poor and sick.

On Sunday, Frieden said Pham apparently became infected through some breach in the protocol for caring for Ebola patients. On Monday, Frieden offered an apology to health care workers who complained that it sounded like he was blaming the nurse instead of questioning whether the protocols and training she received were sufficient.

"I feel awful that a hospital worker became infected taking care of an Ebola patient," Frieden said.

Meanwhile, Spain's Ebola patient remains in serious but stable condition Monday, with doctors cautiously hopeful she can recover.

Teresa Romero, 44, is also a nurse who contracted the virus while treating a Spanish missionary. Romero's dog, Excalibur, was euthanized last week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


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