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Why No Protective Gear For Man With Dallas Ebola Patient?

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - As the world watched the loading of Ebola patient Amber Joy Vinson onto a CDC plane Wednesday, something seemed odd to us, and a lot of you as well. On social media, and on the CBS 11 News phone lines, the biggest question became - who was the guy not wearing protective hazmat gear? CBS 11 News did some digging and got answers.

A news crew spoke with a number of different agencies that were involved in Vinson's transport. Officials with AMR, the ambulance company that transported Vinson from Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas to Dallas Love Field Airport, said it wasn't one of their guys.

From the CBS 11 Chopper video (seen at the top of this post) it looks like the man left with Vinson on the plane.

A spokesperson with Emory University Hospital in Atlanta said that, to her knowledge, none of their people were on the plane.

That pretty much leaves a worker from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The CDC coordinated the flight and from watching the man in plainclothes, he looks like an overseer – given the task of watching every move that was made on the tarmac. While CBS 11 can't confirm that was indeed the person seen at Love Filed, video of the plane arriving in Atlanta certainly appears to show the same man. In the video from DeKalb-Peachtree Airport the man is standing behind the ambulance as Amber Vinson is being loaded into it.

Another moment in the video shows what looks like the man standing very close to two people in protective gear, and one of them is closing an orange bag. Then the other protected person hands over another orange bag. We don't know what was in those bags.

When a member of the Dallas CDC team was shown the video and asked if that was a safe moment or not he said he didn't have a problem with what he saw.

The situations apparently met CDC protocol because the people in the hazmat suits were the ones assisting Vinson, and the plain clothes man was not. The CDC spokesman said the man maintained an appropriate distance from the patient for the amount of time on the tarmac and it must be taken into account that Vinson was also wearing protective gear.

(©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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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