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CDC Creates "Ebola Response Team" For New Cases

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Two weeks after the first Ebola diagnosis on American soil, the Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Thomas Frieden says the organization should have sent a larger response team to insure the virus did not spread to anyone else.

Learning from past mistakes, the CDC has now established an "Ebola response team" that will travel to any place where Ebola is diagnosed, should there be another case identified in the country.  Such a team is now on the ground in Dallas, said Frieden.

"I wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the patient - the first patient - was diagnosed. That might have prevented this infection. But we will do that from today onward with any case anywhere in the U.S.," Frieden said.

"For any hospital, anywhere in the country, that has a confirmed case of Ebola, we will put a team on the ground within hours with some of world's leading experts how to protect health care workers from Ebola infection."

The team in Dallas is looking at every step in the process of caring for the second Ebola patient, fellow nurse Nina Pham, and are making immediate suggestions to improve safety, said Freiden.

Complete Coverage Of Ebola In North Texas

The CDC has added a person in charge of watching everyone enter and leave the isolation area where Pham is housed.  That person's only responsibility is to ensure that health care workers are putting on and removing their personal protective equipment correctly.  Although, the breach in protocol that led to Pham's infection has not been pinpointed, it's possible that she was exposed during this step.  Frieden pointed to this addition as the most important change in procedure when caring for Ebola patients.

Also, two nurses from Emory University hospital have been brought to Dallas to help train health care workers about the treatment of Ebola patients.  Emory is one of the four hospitals in the country with bio-containment units equipped to isolate patients with dangerous infectious diseases and where Americans Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were treated after contracting the disease in Africa.

Finally, the CDC announced new recommendations to limit the number of health care workers interacting with Pham or any other Ebola patient.  At least 76 health care workers came into contact with the first Ebola patient, Thomas Duncan, during his 11 day stay at Texas Presbyterian Hospital.  All of those people are now being monitored on a daily basis and according to the CDC could be at risk of developing the disease.

None of the health care workers or the other 48 people who had contact with Thomas Duncan has shown any symptoms of the virus.  Doctors say while a diagnosis is still possible, those people have made it through the highest risk period without showing symptoms.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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