Plane Used by Ebola-Infected Nurse Was Cleaned and Back in Service Next Day

CDC chief says nurse "should not" have been on commercial jetliner.

ByABC News
October 15, 2014, 2:43 PM

— -- The plane that transported an Ebola-infected nurse from Cleveland to Dallas was cleaned and put back into service the next day, according to Frontier Airlines.

The plane has flown to at least one other U.S. city after being cleaned in Dallas, according to the airline, which confirmed it was cleaned again in Cleveland on Tuesday.

Amber Vinson, 29, is the second health care worker from Dallas to be infected with Ebola. Vinson flew Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas on Monday, landing a little after 8 p.m., authorities said. Vinson was put into isolation in Dallas the following day after arriving at the hospital with a fever. The 29-year-old has tested positive for Ebola in preliminary tests, officials said.

The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention is reaching out to 132 passengers who were on the same flight as Vinson to monitor them for any signs of the disease, CDC Director Tom Frieden said today during a news conference.

The plane that transported Vinson was cleaned after her flight and then put back into service the next day, according to Frontier Airlines. The airline stressed that the flight was the last of the day and that the plane was cleaned "within CDC guidelines" after Vinson's flight.

Frontier Airlines has not confirmed what other cities the plane was flown to besides Cleveland, where the plane was cleaned again on Tuesday.

During today's new conference, Frieden said Vinson "should not have traveled on a commercial airline."

According to the CDC, Vinson reported no Ebola symptoms during the flight. But Frieden said the 29-year-old nurse should not have been flying at all per CDC guidelines, Frieden said.

When Vinson first traveled to Ohio, there had been no reported cases from health workers in Dallas, Frieden said. However, once Dallas nurse Nina Pharm tested positive, Vinson should not have been using public transportation, he said.

"Because at that point she was in a group of individuals known to have exposure to Ebola, she should not have traveled on a commercial airline," Frieden said.

"From this moment forward, we will ensure that no individual monitored for exposure undergoes travel in any way other than controlled movement," he said referring to non-public transportation, such as a personal car or chartered flight.

Flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas was an Airbus 320 capable of seating 168 passengers, according to Flight Aware. Vinson's flight was delayed more than two hours according to Flight Aware, after storms swept through the Midwest on Monday.

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport Director Ricky Smith said that since this morning, the Frontier Airlines aircraft has been decontaminated twice at a remote location at the airport. It was scheduled for a flight to Denver today, Smith said.