Crews Decontaminate Home of 2nd Dallas Nurse With Ebola

Emergency responders in hazardous materials suits began decontaminating the Dallas apartment where a second nurse who tested positive for Ebola lives alone early Wednesday.

Another Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurse, identified by Ohio health officials as 29-year-old Amber Joy Vinson, has been diagnosed with Ebola and put in isolation. She is being flown to the Atlanta hospital where two Americans who contracted Ebola in West Africa were successfully treated.

Vinson's diagnosis comes after another nurse at the same hospital, Nina Pham, also contracted the virus while also caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to have been diagnosed in the U.S. with Ebola. Duncan died Oct. 8.

Emergency crews spread out before dawn Wednesday at Vinson's northeast Dallas apartment, where she lived alone and had no pets. A hazmat-outfitted worker sprayed a substance on the door of a second-floor unit.

According to Terry Clawson, spokesperson for Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the company hired to clean Vinson’s apartment is called Protect Environmental, a state emergency contractor.

Vinson’s apartment and common areas will be cleaned.

The contaminated items will be taken to Port Arthur to be incinerated at Veolia. It’s unclear how long the process will take to clean the apartment.

A statement in both English and Spanish that was being handed out to neighbors advises them that "a health care worker who lives in your area has tested positive for Ebola."

“We knocked on every single door of this apartment complex," Syed said. "There are more than 330 units here and we do believe we made contact with a majority of the residents at this complex.”

Ryan Fus, 24, who lives in the same building as the blocked-off apartment, said police knocked on his door before 6 a.m. to notify him and make sure he was doing OK.

"It's a little scary. It's a little shocking that it's right near me," he said. "But I'm not afraid or anything like that. I'm not gonna run away."

Neighbor Chase Lawrence said he lives "a stone's throw" from The Village apartment building where Vinson lives.

Two Dallas police officers knocked on Lawrence's apartment door shortly after 6 a.m. Wednesday, informed him that a neighbor had contracted Ebola, handed over an informational sheet from the city and then left, he said.

"I just asked where it was in the vicinity. They wouldn't tell you any information. Other than being quarantined. So I didn't know, you know, what's my protocol? Do I stay? Do I go?" Lawrence said.

Residents of Vinson's apartment complex have little to worry about, according to health officials, including the Dallas County Medical Society.

"We anticipate no risk to individuals who might live in nearby apartments," the Medical Society, which represents 7,000 doctors in Dallas County, said in a statement released on Wednesday.

"The Ebola virus is easily killed with something as simple as a bleach wipe, so wipe down your doorknob and practice good hygiene," the statement added.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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