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Ebola fears spread to Cleveland school

A Cleveland area school has taken a series of precautions after learning that one of its teachers may have come in contact with a nurse from Dallas who has since been diagnosed with Ebola.

In written statement, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) said it was informed late Wednesday night that "a teacher who works at Cranwood School may have come in contact with a person diagnosed with the Ebola virus."

While the statement did not confirm the Ebola patient's identity, officials confirmed early Wednesday morning that a nurse from Dallas, Texas tested positive for the disease not long after returning from the Cleveland area, where she visited family members. No other known Ebola cases have been reported in the Cleveland area since the current outbreak of the disease this summer in West Africa. So far, the outbreak has claimed about 4,500 lives -- almost all of them in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

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Dallas nurse Amber Vinson -- the second health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to contract the disease while treating a Liberian man who died at the facility after traveling to West Africa -- flew home to Dallas from Cleveland's Hopkins International Airport on Oct. 13 before she began exhibiting clear symptoms of the deadly virus.

However, as CBS News' Jon LaPook reported Wednesday evening, Vinson called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) several times before flying, saying that she had a fever with a temperature of 99.5 degrees. But because her fever wasn't 100.4 degrees or higher, she didn't officially fall into the group of "high risk" and was allowed to fly.

One health official told CBS News that, put bluntly, "somebody dropped the ball" in telling Vinson it was safe to travel.

The statement from the CMSD did not explain how or when Vinson might have come into contact with a teacher from Cranwood School. Cranwood is actually two linked feeder schools for freshmen heading into the larger JFK High School southeast of central Cleveland: E3agle Academy and PACT (Problem-based Academy of Critical Thinking).

Roseann Canfora, Ph.D., the District Communications Officer for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District could not confirm to CBS News which of the two facilities the teacher in question works for.

The school district said Cleveland health department officials had assured them "our students, families and staff are not at risk," but added that some precautions were taken regardless, "to allay any concerns about safety at Cranwood School."

The measures included a thorough cleaning Wednesday night of the school with a bleach solution, and asking the teacher in question to stay at home "until cleared by health officials to return to work." The incubation period for Ebola virus is considered to between about a week and 21 days, and people who come into contact with the disease are generally monitored for symptoms for 21 days.

CMSD stressed that the measures taken at Cranwood were "strictly precautionary and were done to allay any concerns of our students, staff and families, given the nation's heightened anxiety about the Ebola virus."

Vinson was transferred Wednesday from Texas Health Presbyterian to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, one of four U.S. hospitals with specialized isolation units to care for Ebola patients with less risk of spreading to health care workers.

The CDC said it was attempting to track down all 132 passengers aboard the plane Vinson took because of "the proximity in time between the evening flight and first report of illness."

Officials identified the October 13 flight Vinson was on as Frontier Airlines flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth. They said anyone aboard the plane should call 1 800-CDC INFO (1 800 232-4636) immediately.

Vinson exhibited no signs or symptoms of illness while on flight 1143, according to the crew.

Frontier's CEO confirmed in a statement late Wednesday evening that the airline had "placed six crew members (two pilots; four flight attendants) on paid leave for 21 days out of an abundance of caution."

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