The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will perform confirmatory tests later Sunday, NBC News reported. If they also turn up a positive diagnosis, the worker would become the first case to be transmitted or contracted in America.
CNN reported that the patient is a female nurse. In a press conference Sunday, Texas Health Resources chief clinical officer Dan Varga said that she was in direct contact with Duncan during his second visit to the hospital; however, she was wearing CDC-approved protective gear, including a gown, gloves, mask and a shield. Varga added that she's in stable condition.
In a press conference in Atlanta, CDC director Tom Frieden briefed reporters on the situation.
"We are deeply concerned by the news," he said. "At some point there was a breach in protocol, and that breach in protocol resulted in this infection."
According to Frieden, the patient became aware of symptoms Friday and then underwent testing. He noted that the level of virus in her system was "low."
He mentioned the possibility of additional cases of Ebola emerging in the coming days, coming primarily from health care workers who cared for Duncan. However, he stressed that there is "no risk to people outside of that circle of healthcare workers, or the 48 people who had contact with Duncan."
This second case comes on the heels of several Ebola scares across the United States. A Brooklyn teen was hospitalized Friday after exhibiting "suspicious" symptoms, but the New York Daily News reports that he has been cleared. Additionally, a flight out of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York was grounded after a passenger vomited in-flight, and a woman in Nashville was also given a negative diagnosis after being admitted to the hospital with possible symptoms.
Despite an intense bout of public and media-driven fear, Frieden made sure to stress that the second case doesn't drastically change things.
"It doesn't change the bottom line," he said. "We know how Ebola spreads, we know how to stop it from spreading. But it does reemphasize how meticulous we have to be on every single control method."