Updated 10:00 AM EST, Mon, Dec 06, 2021

Ebola Virus 2014 Outbreak News Update & Death Toll: 5 Ways to Get Infected on a Plane

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The second Dallas nurse who tested positive for the Ebola virus has been identified-she is Amber Vinson, hailing from the same hospital where nurse Nina Pham has first contracted the disease. A relative has confirmed Vinson's condition via Reuters.

Incidentally, the 29-year-old nurse has also worked for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first man diagnosed to host the virus in the United States. Duncan tested positive on Sept. 30 and died on Oct. 8.

Meanwhile, WFAA reported that nurse Nina Pham, who also took care of Duncan, is now in a stable condition.

Nurse Vinson is also in a stable condition but remains to be ill. According to NBC News, she has boarded a plane on Monday from Cleveland to Dallas with a temperature of 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Thomas Frieden felt regret saying, "She should not have traveled on a commercial airline."

Now, health officials are tracking all 132 passengers of Frontier Airlines Flight 1143, who traveled with Vinson. However, Frieden assured that the risk of transmission is "extremely low," since Vinson was neither vomiting nor bleeding at the time of her flight.

How likely is it to acquire Ebola in a plane? Apparently, it all boils down to the basic principles of how the virus is transmitted.

1. The Ebola virus is acquired via direct contact -- meaning, one cannot acquire Ebola by just being in the same room with an infected person. There has to be a form of physical interaction that involves bodily fluids such as blood, saliva, breast milk, stool, sweat, semen, tears, vomitus and urine. A person gets Ebola if these fluids penetrate a broken skin.

2. MSN specified that kissing and sharing food, involving bodily fluids again, can provide a route for transmission. This is why Frieden believed that the risk of Vinson passing the virus to another during the flight is low -- since she has not vomited or bled at all.

3. Touching infected surfaces (e.g. touching a plane seat with an Ebola-containing vomitus and later on scratching one's eyes without washing) can also infect another person. Proper decontamination is necessary.

4. Sex is unlikely in a public transport such as an airplane, but MSN added that the virus thrives in semen 82 days after exhibition of symptoms; WebMD noted 70 days. Whatever the figures suggest, having sex with a symptom-free partner is still unsafe. It is best to seek medical confirmation.

5. Scientific American wrote that Ebola was first suspected to be carried by gorillas, until fruit bats became suspects. Eating wild animals as a plane meal (although unlikely) is another potential infection channel.

Learn more about Ebola from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have previously reported the World Health Organization's announcement of rise in casualties among Ebola-diagnosed patients to 70 percent. In addition, 10,000 new cases a week is expected.  

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