2nd nurse with Ebola may have had worse case during flights

DENVER - The president of Frontier Airlines says a nurse who was on flights between Dallas and Cleveland and who later tested positive for Ebola may have been at a more advanced stage of the illness than previously thought.

Amber Joy Vinson, 29, was diagnosed with Ebola on Wednesday. She had helped treat Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient in the U.S., at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital before the Liberian man died Oct. 8.

Late Wednesday, Vinson was transferred to Atlanta's Emory University Hospital, which has successfully treated two American Ebola patients without the disease spreading further.

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It remains unclear how she and fellow Texas Health Presbyterian nurse Nina Pham acquired the virus, according to officials at the Centers for Disease Controls.

Frontier Airlines president Barry Biffle emailed employees Friday about the findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He said the CDC has assured the Denver-based airline that crewmembers on the flights are at a very low risk of exposure.

The airline put the pilots and flight attendants on leave for 21 days, which health experts consider the outer limit of how long it would take someone exposed to Ebola to become sick.

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Biffle says passengers on Vinson's flight from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 10 and her return flight to Dallas on Monday have been notified. Officials said Vinson was visiting family in northeast Ohio to prepare for her wedding.

The CDC said it is attempting to track down all 132 passengers aboard the plane she took because of "the proximity in time between the evening flight and first report of illness. Vinson exhibited no signs or symptoms of illness while on flight 1143, according to the crew.

Pham was taken to the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on Thursday night to continue her treatment.