An unidentified second health care worker in Dallas, Texas, has tested positive for the Ebola virus. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the health care worker was one of the 76 people who provided care for Liberian Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan. Duncan died of the virus, which has a 50 percent mortality rate.
The Health Department said that the health care worker reported having a fever on Tuesday and was "immediately isolated at the hospital."
A preliminary Ebola test was done late on Tuesday at one of the U.S.'s 15 public health laboratories capable of testing for the virus in Austin, Texas. The test results were received in the middle of the night and officially announced at about 5 a.m. EST on Wednesday morning.
A test to confirm the results will be done on a different test specimen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Those results should be available within the next day or so.
Health officials have already interviewed the health care worker to identify contacts for potential cases of exposure. Those people will now have to be monitored in different ways, depending on the type of interaction they had with the patient and how they were potentially exposed to the virus.
On Sunday, the first health care worker to contract the virus, Nina Pham, tested positive for Ebola. Pham also cared for Duncan when he was sick in Dallas Presbyterian Hospital.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids when a person is symptomatic. It can also be contracted through contaminated objects such as needles.
More than 4,000 people have died of Ebola in West Africa, where the disease is raging through several countries.