According to Yahoo News, the Texas nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for the first person to die of the virus in the US has been identified as 26-year-old Nina Pham.
Health officials have not released the nurse’s name, but Yahoo News identified Pham through public records and a state nursing database.
Then on Monday, Pham’s family confirmed her identity to local Dallas ABC News affiliate WFAA.
Pham, a critical care nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, is one of at least 50 people who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, before he died last Wednesday.
Pham has been in isolation since late Friday. The CDC confirmed her Ebola diagnosis on Sunday. It is the first time the deadly virus has been transmitted in the United States.
The Dallas resident is a 2010 graduate of Texas Christian University and has been a nurse since June 2010, according to state records.
The CDCP director, Dr. Thomas Frieden MD, said Pham is in stable condition at Texas Health Presbyterian. An unidentified person Pham had close contact with last week is also being monitored, but Dr. Frieden said that individual has shown no symptoms of Ebola.
Investigators have not determined how Pham specifically contracted the disease from Duncan, who died on his 10th day of intensive care at the hospital.
"If this one individual was infected and we don't know how within the isolation unit, then it is possible that other individuals could have been infected as well," Frieden said during a press conference. "We consider them to be at risk, and we're doing an in-depth review and investigation."
A day earlier, Frieden characterized the transmission from Duncan to Pham as a possible breach in safety protocols. On Monday he apologized for those remarks.
"Some interpreted that as finding fault with the hospital or the health care worker, and I'm sorry if that was the impression given. That was certainly not my intention," Frieden said. "What we need to do, is all take responsibility for improving the safety of those on the front lines. I feel awful that a health care worker became infected in the care of an Ebola patient. She was there trying to help the first patient survive."
Tom Ha, a longtime friend of Pham's family, told The Dallas Morning News that it is in the nurse's genes to go out of her way to assist others.
"I expect, with the big heart that she has, she went beyond what she was supposed to do to help anyone in need," Ha told the newspaper.
COMMENT: Because of Pham's diagnosis, Frieden said the CDCP will be "doubling down on the about of education, training, outreach and support we provide not just to this hospital but to other hospitals and other health care settings that are concerned appropriately about the possibility of detecting Ebola and safely caring for it."
In addition to retraining in infection control, other immediate changes at Texas Health Presbyterian includes a buddy system so Ebola caregivers spot one another while dressing and undressing in protective gear.
The type and amount of protective gear is being reviewed to see if the removal might be too cumbersome and prone for mistakes. The number of health care workers treating an Ebola patient will be reduced as will the number of repetitive procedures, both of which might help reduce the risk of worker exposure.
Staff will also wear respiratory protection in an Ebola patient's room when carrying out procedures that increase exposure to bodily fluids.
"Care a patient with Ebola requires meticulous attention to detail, and we're looking at every aspect to see how we can make it safer and easier," Frieden said.
Last month Dallas officials were slow to decontaminate the apartment where Duncan had been living. But on Monday a hazardous materials team was already on its second day at Pham's apartment located in a popular urban neighborhood close to restaurants and shopping.
Dallas Animal Services removed Bentley, Pham's Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, to an undisclosed location where it will be cared for. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins told WFAA that Bentley would not be euthanized like Excalibur, the dog belonging to a Spanish nurse with Ebola.
"When I met with her parents, they said, 'This dog is important to her, judge; Don't let anything happen to the dog," Jenkins said. "If that dog has to be The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, we're going to take good care of that dog."