<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Mon, 20 Oct 2014 04:08:20 -0400 Mon, 20 Oct 2014 04:08:20 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[48 People off Ebola Watch List]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 03:07:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Thomas+Duncan+Texas+Health+Presby+Hospital.jpg

Dozens of people were taken off the Ebola watch list at midnight Monday, clearing a major hurdle in the fight against the spread of the deadly virus.

“[Monday] will be a good day at midnight because the first 48 contacts will roll off of the watch list,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

The 48 people who came in contact with Thomas Eric Duncan before he was put in isolation all have shown no signs of contracting the virus.

“[I’m] looking forward to shaking some hands of 48 people who need to get back into society,” said Jenkins.

But the fight is not over. Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, two Dallas nurses who contracted the virus while caring for Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, remain hospitalized.

“They are blameless in this situation,” said Jenkins. “They are victims of Ebola. They are not at fault for contracting this disease in any way.”

Investigators don't know how or when the nurses contracted the virus. All the other health care workers who cared for Duncan while in isolation are being monitored for 21 days.More than 70 of them will be closely watched until Oct. 29 as long as they continue to show no signs of having the virus.

“We cannot be relieved,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. “We are still in a situation where we are cautious. We're cautiously optimistic, but we're still very cautious.”

Duncan died Oct. 8. Jenkins said with each day that passes, the chances of another health care worker contracting the virus from Duncan decreases.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA["You Can't Be Afraid": Dallas Takes Ebola in Stride]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 10:56:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP705583008842.jpg

Nearly three weeks after Thomas Eric Duncan was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital with Ebola, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings was standing at the hospital’s entrance taping a promotion video for the city’s convention and visitors bureau.

"I want to tell you this – Dallas is open for business like never before," he assured would-be visitors. "Now look, you've got to make some decisions but make them based on fact." 

Dallas is safe, he said.

As the city of about 1.3 million people goes about its business, with thousands pouring into the Texas State Fair for its final weekend and fans looking forward to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday football game against the New York Giants, the mayor has his supporters. Ebola is a deadly disease, but the threat of infection for the majority of people is small, residents and visitors said. Still, fears emerge even as they're fast tamped down.

Edward Nash, 40, a cook serving Vietnamese specialties at the Nammi Food Truck parked in downtown Dallas, agreed that the city was ill-prepared for its first Ebola patient. But he thought that since the crisis has unfolded residents have been kept well-informed. Most people never really believed the disease would come to this city – despite the epidemic raging in West Africa, he said. If anywhere, he thought the first case would be recorded in New York City or Los Angeles, a larger metropolis along one of the coasts where more people are entering the country.

"You don’t expect it," he said. "When it happened, it was like, 'Oh, this is not a drill. This is happening for real.' And that's with anything you do, any line of work."

But now that the disease has arrived, he expects health officials to keep it well in hand. Too many things would have to go wrong for a widespread epidemic to take hold as it has in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, he said.

"To happen here in Dallas someone truly has to drop the ball," he said.

Duncan, a Liberian man who traveled to Dallas to see his fiancee, died on Oct. 8. He first went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Sept. 25 — and was sent home despite a fever — then returned in an ambulance three days later and was admitted with Ebola.

Two of the nurses treating him have also been diagnosed with the virus: Nina Pham and Amber Joy Vinson. Both have been transferred to one of the country’s centers specializing in treating contagious diseases, Pham to the National Institutes of Health Clincial Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and Vinson to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Before Vinson was diagnosed, she flew to Cleveland, Ohio, to plan her wedding and back to Dallas.

A second hospital worker who may have handled Duncan’s fluid samples also traveled, boarding a cruise on Carnival ship.  Mexican authorities turned the ship away in Cozumel and the worker went into voluntary isolation. A helicopter was sent to get a blood sample from her on Saturday. Authorities have stressed she has shown no symptoms. 

Health officials have been monitoring 145 people for symptoms of Ebola as a result of direct or indirect contact with Duncan or the nurses. As of Saturday, 14 had completed their surveillance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nash was not surprised that the workers had left Dallas. He blames a lack of knowledge about Ebola.

"If they honestly thought that they were a carrier, that they weren’t safe, I believe they wouldn't have traveled," he said. "They wouldn't have put themselves around people. They would have quarantined themselves at the hospital."

Nearby, Faye Hooper was eating ice cream from another of the food trucks at Klyde Warren Park. The 57-year-old geometry teacher from Tennessee was visiting her daughter in Dallas and though Ebola had crossed her mind, she said she did not feel unsafe in Dallas. She had read up on the disease, partly to calm her ninth- and tenth-grade students, and knew that passengers not showing symptoms were not contagious, she said.

"I guess I was concerned about it enough to read about it a little bit," she said.

Dallas had the means to protect people properly, she said. More worrisome would be flying with passengers from West Africa, where countries have not been able to control the spread of the virus, she said.

“That would concern me, but no, not just coming to Dallas,” she said.

Even as other communities have closed schools and quarantined teachers, the Dallas schools have remained open. Five students who had contact with Duncan were quarantined quickly. Based on information from the Dallas County Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the district determined there was no need to close any schools, said Andre Riley, the director of news and information for the Dallas Independent School District.

The day after Duncan's diagnosis became public there was about a 10 percent drop-off at the schools the five students' schools, he said. Attendance was back to normal by the beginning of the following week.

"It's a great thing that folks are being monitored," he said. "It shows that there's a heightened level of awareness and our community is taking this seriously."

Two musicians in downtown Dallas, Adontis Barber, 25, and 24-year-old Che Sealy, said journalists were exaggerating the danger.

“They’re blowing it way out of proportion without dispensing the proper knowledge of it,” Barber said. “Why do you have to push it so hard, so fast, so quick all the time?”

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital will have to work hard to repair its reputation after turning Duncan away, he said. Now people are asking whether that occurred because he was a black man, he said.

“That’s the question that’s been itching on everyone’s ears,” he said.

The hospital has denied discriminating against Duncan because of his nationality or lack of health care, and it has undertaken a public relations campaign to restore the city's confidence in the care it provides. It has begun a social media effort using the hashtag #presbyproud, and as the weekend started, nurses and others held a brief rally in support of the hospital. Barclay Berdan, the CEO of the hospital's parent company, Texas Health Resources, has written an open letter to the community acknowledging mistakes and the hospital's lack of preparation an describing changes.

"We have acted aggressively to improve our response and protect the health and safety of our workers and community," the letter reads.

Nonetheless there are signs the city is on edge. Dr. Daniel Varga, the chief clinical officer for Texas Health Resources, acknowledged to The Dallas Morning News that some patients have cancelled appointments. Then on Saturday, a woman fell ill on a Dallas DART train and a station was closed for a time. 

At the State Fair, where cowboy burritos were on sale this year and steers and lambs and goats were on display, some among the throngs admitted to being worried. 

Alana Etheridge, a Dallas resident who works on health-care contracts, said she had given some thought to whether she should attend.

"Should we go, should we not go?" she said.

"Basically you can't be afraid," she said. "I think the best thing is just to be knowledgeable and educate yourself on how it's actually spread. But we have to go to work and we have to go to other public places."

Brenda Willis, there with her husband and two children, said she thought that Dallas had done its best.

"The best they can with what they have, yes," said Willis, 39, an Austin resident works in pharmaceutical research. "Are they equipped with what they need? No."

Few hospitals in the United States are outfitted to treat Ebola successfully, she said. 

Taking a break in the shade, Jacque and Kayla Talley, Arlington residents and mother and daughter who work with mental-health counselors, said they were not afraid. 

Kayla Talley, 19, said she did not think officials were handling the Ebola scare as well as they could. 

"People worry about it because now it's here," she said. "It's affecting us."

Her mother praised the nurses who took care of Duncan, even at their own risk. She refused to stay away from the State Fair, just as she hadn't stayed away after the September 11th terrorist attacks when people were warned against mingling in large crowds, she said.

"I wasn't going to let someone ruin our family tradition," she said. "So no, it doesn't scare me."

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Forensic Teams Search Area Where Remains Found]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 22:50:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/hannah+graham+triple+photo.jpg

Authorities investigating the disappearance of a University of Virginia student are searching a rural area where human remains were discovered.

Investigators also interviewed residents in the area Sunday, and forensic teams combed the sides of a road for several miles past the site.

It was not immediately known what they were looking for.

Virginia police said Saturday that human remains have been found during the search for Hannah Graham, the University of Virginia student who has been missing for more than a month.

Volunteer searchers discovered the unidentified body at about noon Saturday in an "abandoned property" along Old Lynchburg Road in the Walnut Creek Park area of Albemarle County, authorities said at a Saturday evening press conference.

Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said the remains would be taken to the office of Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner for forensic testing and identification.

Longo said Graham's parents had been notified of the discovery. He said volunteers working with Chesterfield County sheriff’s deputies were searching the property on Old Lynchburg Road when they discovered the remains.

Albemarle County Police Chief Steve Sellers said, “This, sadly, is now a death investigation. We will not jump to any conclusions after today’s discovery.”

In September, police charged 32-year-old Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. with abduction with intent to defile in Graham's disappearance. His attorney, Jim Camblos, issued a statement late Saturday night.

"I understand the search teams found remains on an abandoned farm in Albemarle County. We are waiting to see the results of the medical examiners autopsy. No further comment."

Albemarle County Police now are asking anyone who saw suspicious activity or suspicious vehicles near Old Lynchburg Road to contact them at 434-296-5807. Neighbors in the area said they had been smelling a foul odor a few days ago.

Emergency management officials, meanwhile, canceled Sunday's planned search for Graham. Hundreds of volunteers have joined Charlottesville, Albemarle County and state authorities for a series of searches since Graham disappeared.

The scene where the remains were found is about five miles from where searchers in 2009 found the body of Morgan Harrington, a student from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg who had gone missing after a concert in Charlottesville.

Virginia state police have said there was a "forensic link" between Graham's disappearance and Harrington's murder.

Graham was reported missing on September 12 after a night with friends. She was last seen on surveillance video in Charlottesville’s downtown mall in the early morning hours of September 13.

The surveillance video shows a man police identified as Matthew wrapping his arm around Graham. He is also accused of buying the 18-year-old woman alcohol.

Two weeks after Graham's disappearance, Matthew -- a hospital worker and former taxi driver -- was arrested in Texas. He has been extradited to Virginia, where he is in custody.

Matthew is not due for a court appearance in the case until December. Investigators believe Matthew acted alone and did not know Graham before her disappearance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Festival Head Takes Reporter's Mic]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 18:40:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NECN_101914_pumpkinfestcoordinator_1200x675_344942147824.jpg

While confrontations between police and crowds were taking place during the Keene Pumpkin Festival in New Hampshire, a reporter and the festival's organizer had one on television.

Coordinator Ruth Sterling ripped a microphone from Cheshire TV reporter Jared Goodell during a liveshot.

"She's not letting me do my job and to report to you, she would not like me to tell you what's going on at Keene State College," said Goodell.

"This is a family-friendly event. The footprint of Keene Pumpkin Festival is 100 percent safe. We have a bigger crowd than we've ever had. I want them to have a wonderful evening and not be disturbed by people who aren't even at the pumpkin festival," said Sterling after reaching for the microphone. "So if you think that inciting these people is a good idea, I am going to pull the plug on you. Because you are here as a guest of Keene Pumpkin Festival and I assigned you this spot."

Sterling posted the following statement on the Pumpkin Festival's website:

"Yesterday gave us many lessons; sorting them out and learning will take time. There is some thing each of us can to do help. And there is some comfort in remembering Mr. Rogers' wisdom, 'look for the helpers.' In the helpers, there is hope."

Photo Credit: Cheshire TV]]>
<![CDATA[2 Arrested in SoCal Student's Death]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:19:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Abdullah+Abdullatif+Alkadi+blue+bg.jpg

Two people have been arrested in connection with the death of a Cal State Northridge student whose remains were found alongside a freeway in Riverside County one month after he went missing, police said Sunday.

No further information was released. The Los Angeles Police Department planned on holding a press conference Monday.

Abdullah Abdullatif Alkadi, a 23-year-old international student from Saudi Arabia, was last seen on Sept. 17 at his home in Northridge. His remains were found about 11:50 p.m. Thursday alongside the 10 Freeway near the Cook Street overpass in Palm Desert, police said.

Alkadi sold his Audi to a man he met through Craigslist when we went missing, but police said they contacted the buyer and cleared that person from any involvement in the disappearance.

Cellphone records traced him to Beaumont, a city in which he has no contacts, shortly after he disappeared, Alkadi's cousin Allison Alomair told NBC4 last month.

Refresh this page for updates on this developing story

Christina Cocca contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[How Is Ebola Spread?]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 00:30:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/456202288.jpg

The first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States sparked immediate concerns about who may have been exposed and helped shed light on how the potentially deadly virus is, and isn't, spread.

Ebola can only be spread by infected people who show symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. If an exposed person does not develop symptoms within 21 days of exposure, the person will not become sick with Ebola, according to the CDC.

"There is no risk to people who have been in contact with those who have been sick with Ebola and recovered, or people who have been exposed and have not yet shown symptoms," the CDC's director Dr. Thomas Frieden explained Tuesday, after confirming that a patient in Dallas had tested positive.

That patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, recently flew to the United States from Liberia, one of the West African countries now grappling with a deadly Ebola outbreak. Because he showed no signs of sickness until four days after landing in the U.S., however, officials are not worried about travelers who were on the plane with him. Duncan died on Oct. 8 in a Dallas hospital.

The initial spread of the Ebola virus to humans is unknown, although researchers believe that "patient zero" in the recent West Africa outbreak became infected through contact with an infected animal, possibly a bat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How Ebola Is Spread:

Once a person is infected, the CDC said there are several ways Ebola can spread to other people:

  • Touching the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola, including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit and semen. To become infected with the virus, you would need to get some of the ill person’s bodily fluids into your mouth, nose, or eyes, or into your body via a cut or a needle stick. Doctors say that there is no evidence anyone has ever been infected via sweat.
  • Touching objects contaminated with the virus, like syringes or other medical equipment
  • Touching infected animals, by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat
  • A cough from a sick patient could infect someone close enough to be sprayed with droplets of mucus or saliva. People dealing with anyone who may be ill are told to stand at least three feet away, preferably six. Being within three feet of a patient for a prolonged time, without wearing protective gear, is considered direct contact, according to Frieden.

Direct contact through broken skin or mucus membranes is key, as the CDC said Ebola cannot be spread through the air (the virus doesn't drift through the air like germs that cause measles or tuberculosis) or by water or food. However, that may not have been the case in some cases in Africa, where Ebola may have been spread through the handling of wild animals hunted for food and contact with infected bats, according to the CDC.

What Are the Symptoms of Ebola:

The following symptoms can appear from two to 21 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • Muscle pain

Generally, after 21 days, if an exposed person has not developed symptoms, he or she will not become sick, the CDC said.

However, the Ebola virus has been found in semen for up to three months after exposure, so those who have recovered from the virus are advised not to have sex, or else only to have sex using condoms, during that time, according to the CDC.

Are Patients Who Recover From Ebola Immune for Life?

Evidence shows that people who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years, or longer, according to the CDC. But it's not known if people who recover are immune for life or if they can become infected with a different species of Ebola.

Can Ebola Mutate to Become Aiborne?

According to experts, it is very unlikely that the virus would mutate to become airborne. The Ebola virus has not previously mutated in this way, and experts say there is no other virus that has changed from non-airborne to airborne in humans.

Can Mosquitoes Spread Ebola?

There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit the virus, according to the CDC. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys and apes) have shown the ability to spread and become infected with Ebola virus.

How Long Does the Ebola Virus Live:

The virus can survive for a few hours on dry surfaces like doorknobs and countertops, according to the C.D.C. It can, however, survive for several days in puddles or collections of body fluid at room temperature. It is not clear how long it may survive in soiled linens and clothing.

A thorough cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants (such as household bleach) will kill Ebola.

How Can Travelers Protect Themselves:

The CDC said travelers can do several things to protect themselves when visiting the area where the outbreak is occurring, including:

  • Wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not touch the blood and body fluids of an ill person or the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
  • Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (temperature of 101.5oF/ 38.6oC) and any of the other following symptoms: headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.

There is no vaccine for the Ebola virus, but researchers are currently testing two.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Stolen Ambulance Sparks Pursuit]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 03:05:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/141019-stolen-lafd-ambulance.jpg

A patient stole a Los Angeles Fire Department ambulance in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday night and led officers in a pursuit that ended in a crash a few miles away, police said.

Two paramedics were in the back of their ambulance about 7:40 p.m. treating the patient in the 200 block of N. San Pedro Street, LAFD officials said.  The patient refused medical attention and left the vehicle, but later came back charging at the paramedics, who took cover in the back of the ambulance and locked the doors, police said.

That's when the patient got into the cab of the ambulance and drove off with paramedics leaping out of the back, officials said.

A fire engine followed the ambulance until Los Angeles Police Department officers took over the pursuit, police said.

The short chase ended when the driver lost control of the ambulance and collided with a minivan at Beverly Boulevard and Union Avenue in the Westlake District, police said.

The driver of the ambulance was taken into custody.

Two people who were in the minivan were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, officials said. They were expected to be OK.

No one else was hurt.

Photo Credit: Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBCLA via Instagram)]]>
<![CDATA[Stranger Pulls Man From Fiery Home]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:27:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/hero_man_fire_fresno2.jpg

A Fresno man was pulled from his burning home by a complete stranger this weekend, and it was all captured on video.

A man in a striped shirt carried the victim out of the house as seen in this video:


Firefighters said the man had been hooked to an oxygen tank for respiratory problems. He was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

No one else was hurt, but firefighters said it could have been much worse.

Neighbors did not call 911 right away and were trying to put out the flames themselves with a garden hose.

Photo Credit: Beth Lederach]]>
<![CDATA[Ebola Nurse "In No Way Careless"]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:29:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Amber-Vinson-1200x675.jpg

The family of Ebola patient Amber Joy Vinson released a statement Sunday, indicating the Dallas nurse had not been careless in the days preceding her diagnosis.

The 29-year-old nurse had cared for Ebola victim Thomas Eric Dunan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas in late September. According to previous reports, Vinson had worn protective gear while handling Duncan's bodily fluids prior to his death.

Vinson flew from Dallas to Cleveland Oct. 10, two days after Duncan died, to visit her mother and fiancé and to plan her upcoming wedding, a health official said.

According to her family, she had been in contact with Dallas County Health Department officials, who asked her to report her temperature twice a day after fellow nurse Nina Pham was diagnosed with Ebola. Vinson's family said she asked officials if she could fly back to Dallas a day early and place herself in a 21-day quarantine at the hospital.

"She was told that this was the first request of its kind, but that the agency would consider the option," her family said in a statement. "Once again, Amber was assured that she should not be alarmed and prompted to continue self-monitoring."

She flew back to Dallas Monday, Oct. 13, reported a 100.3 degree fever the following morning and checked herself into Presbyterian Hospital, according to the family. Vinson was flown to Atlanta's Emory Hospital to receive more specialized care following her Ebola diagnosis on Oct. 15.

"Suggestions that she ignored any of the physician and government-provided protocols recommended to her are patently untrue and hurtful," the family statement reads. "Although the majority of the correspondences we have received since her diagnosis have been positive, we are troubled by some of the negative public comments and media coverage that mischaracterize Amber and her actions. To be clear, in no way was Amber careless prior to or after her exposure to Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan. She has not and would not knowingly expose herself or anyone else."

Vinson's family also said they have retained a lawyer from Washington, D.C., and have asked for privacy.

"The past several days have been the most trying our family has collectively ever faced," they wrote. "We remain intensely prayerful and optimistic about Amber’s condition and of the treatment she is currently receiving. Our prayers and thoughts also go out to Amber’s colleague, Nina Pham, and the Dallas and Ohio communities impacted by this tragedy."

Photo Credit: Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Students Home Amid Ebola Concerns]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 01:02:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Howard-R-Yocum.jpg

Two students from Africa who were scheduled to start classes at a New Jersey school Monday will instead stay home past a 21-day waiting period due to Ebola concerns, despite the fact that they are symptom-free and are not from an area affected by the virus.

A nurse at the Howard Yocum School in Maple Shade Township, New Jersey sent a letter to staff members informing them that two new students from Rwanda, Africa would be arriving at the school on Monday.

“This is not an area identified as a country with an Ebola outbreak, however l am taking precautions as per the health guidelines of the Burlington County Health Department,” the nurse wrote.  “I will be taking the students' temperature three times a day for 21 days.”

In the letter, the nurse cites a Centers for Disease Control recommendation that all healthy people who arrive in the United States from an Ebola affected area be checked for fever daily for 21 days. She also acknowledges in the same letter however that Rwanda is not an area affected by Ebola.

The nurse informed the school staff she would check the students before they start school, at lunch time and at the end of the day.

“They may continue their usual activities during this time," the nurse wrote. "If they remain healthy during the 21 days, they are not at risk for Ebola. If they get sick the 21 days after returning from an Ebola affected area, they are not at risk for Ebola. This means that they are ill from another source. If there is a fever of 100 or greater, the student will be sent home.”

Bryan Huff, a custodian at Yocum Elementary, told NBC10 the letter caused a panic among parents of children at the school as well as staff.

"A lot of people were going to pull their kids out of school," Huff said. "A lot of people weren't going to go to work."

Gina Mulherin, a parent of a student at Howard Yocum, told NBC10 she sympathized with the parents of the new students but ultimately agreed with the school nurse's decision.

"It's a little unsettling to think that your child would be getting their temperature taken three times a day," she said. "But again, it's better to be safe than sorry."

Anxiety from parents turned to relief Saturday however when Maple Shade School District Superintendent Beth Nocia announced the parents of the new students chose to keep them home past the 21-day waiting period.

“The Maple Shade School District takes the health of all students and staff very seriously,” Nocia wrote. “As many of you are aware, we have students who have spent time in the eastern portion of Africa that were scheduled to start in our schools on Monday.  This area of Africa has been unaffected by the Ebola virus.  Despite the fact that the students are symptom-free and not from an affected area, the parents have elected to keep their children home past the 21-day waiting period. The family is looking forward to joining the Maple Shade Schools the following week.“

Nickiesha Samuels, another parent at the school, told NBC10 she's happy with the choice the parents made.

"Them taking an extra week beyond the 21 days before coming to school is more than appreciated," she said.

Huff also said he was relieved by their decision.

"Now we don't have to worry about anything," Huff said. "We actually know that they're going to be fine when they come to school. So we have no worries on our shoulders."

NBC10 reached out to the school nurse as well as Nocia. We have not yet heard from either of them.

The first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States sparked immediate concerns about who may have been exposed and helped shed light on how the potentially deadly virus is, and isn’t, spread.

Ebola can only be spread by infected people who show symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. If an exposed person does not develop symptoms within 21 days of exposure, the person will not become sick with Ebola, according to the CDC.

CLICK HERE for more information on Ebola.

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<![CDATA[Man Tried to Dig Into Verizon: PD]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 20:43:35 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/juan+cardoso+mug.jpg

An attempted burglary suspect is in custody after leading police on a chase through two Broward cities early Sunday morning.

Police say 41-year-old Juan Carlos Cardoso tried to dig a hole into a Verizon store from an adjacent Enterprice Rental Car store at 2222 University Drive in Coral Springs.

"It appears the suspect was most likely trying to make entrance into Verizon, most likely to steal cell phones or commit some type of theft while inside," Coral Springs Police Lt. Brad McKeone said.

The store's alarm went off, prompting Cardoso to flee in a silver SUV. Police arrived as Cardoso was leaving the parking lot and chased him nearly five miles. The chase ended in a residential community near Southgate Blvd. and Sanibel Drive in Tamarac.

Cardoso was arrested after crashing into a police cruiser and two parked cars. Gavin Gordon is one of the owners of the damaged cars, and said it was a shock to see this happen so close to home.

"Something like this doesn't usually happen in this neighborhood," Gordon said. "It's very secluded."

Area resident Kayla Weiss said she witnessed the arrest.

"The cops took him out of the car and he was resisting, he was trying to fight the cops," Weiss said. "So they tazed him. It was insane."

McKeone said one officer injured his leg while arresting Cardoso, and was taken to Coral Springs Medical Center. He is expected to be okay.

Cardoso was transported to Broward Health Medical Center for minor injuries. He was then booked into the Broward County Main Jail.

Cardoso faces seven charges, including aggravated battery on an officer, leaving the scene of a crash, and aggravated fleeing and eluding. Police say he may face more charges from prosecutors. He is being held on more than $21,000 bond. It is unclear if Cardoso has an attorney.

Police believe there may have been other people involved in the attempted burglary. They are asking anyone with information to call the Coral Springs Police at (954) 344-1800.

Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Keene Cleans Up After Riots]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 20:52:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/Keene+Riot+Cleanup.jpg

Keene State College students are trying to clean up their campus after the annual pumpkin festival in the New Hampshire city turned into mayhem Saturday.

Several students who were outside the school Sunday morning told NECN they feel terrible about the distrubances at the Keene Pumpkin Festival.

"We're out here trying to fix the Keene State name," said senior Lauren Faulkner.

"I think it's gone a little too far, and a lot of people are really upset with us this year," said junior Tyler Bissaillon.

The clash between crowds and law enforcement flared up twice Saturday. At least 30 people were injured and around 12 people were arrested in the afternoon, when a party near the college got out of control.

Just before 10 p.m., the riots rekindled when fires were lit and police unloaded tear gas into another crowd that gathered.

"Like most New Hampshire citizens, I am outraged by the irresponsible, terrible actions that marred a New Hampshire tradition," said Gov. Maggie Hassan in a statement Sunday. "I am very grateful that there weren't more injuries, and we must be vigilant as a state to review and learn from the sad destruction that escalated in Keene."

Cheshire Medical Center confirmed Sunday that it saw 26 patients after the riots on Saturday. Twenty-one of the patients were seen after the afternoon incident while five others were seen in the evening.

None of those patients were admitted to the hospital.

Sunday, Keene State College President Anne Huot reiterated that the students involved would be held responsible, as she said Saturday night.

"Regretfuly, Keene endured a great deal over this weekend. We care deeply about the citizens of Keene and our students, and we lament the impact of inexcusable behaviors on our city," said Huot in a statement. "We are actively working to identify the individuals who participated in unlawful behavior."

Huot added that the damage is being repaired and officials are working to "find long-term solutions."

Witnesses described the scene as a war zone, saying people flipped cars, tore down lamp posts, lit fires, threw bottles and cans, smashed windows, ripped traffic signs out of the ground and clashed with police in full riot gear.

Those police used tear gas, K-9's and tasers to try and control the crowds.

State police said that troopers and citizens were struck by objects, but that none of the injuries were serious.

The Keene Pumpkin Festival is said to draw more than 60,000 people annually. Participants in the event try to set a world record for the largest number of carved and lighted jack-o-lanterns in one place.

Bud Windsor, the head of the grounds crew at Keene State College, says he is disappointed to see the longstanding tradition turn into such mayhem.

"This does not represent what Keene State is all about," said Windsor.

Keene City Manager John MacLean said that 42 people were arrested at the festival Friday night, but he was not sure how many arrests were made Saturday. In past years, MacLean said, approximately 100-125 people were arrested.

MacLean does not believe anyone had to stay in a hospital overnight.

One person was burned by a firecracker, according to MacLean. That person's condition was unknown.

Windsor, who says he has never seen anything like this in 21 years, explained that it could take up to a week to clean up. He added that his priority is the blue emergency poles on campus that kids ripped out of the ground.

"People were getting, just, absolutely beaten down on the ground, dragged apart," said visitor Jeremiah Wilton. "Everybody was just out of control on both ends. Everyone was furious, and then it just kept escalating and escalating and escalating."

MacLean tells NECN that police showed "tremendous restraint" and never became a part of the problem.

Nashua Police was called in to assist Keene Police Saturday night. Their Special Response Team has been activated.

Most of the injuries during the day were caused by people getting hit by objects, including bottles.

Huot said the outcome of the event "was predetermined a year ago," and she expects that promotion of Keene and the Pumpkin Festival as a destination for "raucous behavior" will only increase unless meaningful changes are made.

“It’s just like a rush," 18-year-old Steven French told the Keene Sentinel on Saturday night. "You’re revolting from the cops. It’s a blast to do things that you’re not supposed to do.”

The city, which already had four times the ordinary number of first responders on for the event, had to call in even more reinforcements.

"We have several resources here, but yes, it was well beyond a normal response," said Keene Fire Chief Mark Howard.

Bystanders describe the chaos as police tried to control the unruly crowd.

"They just started walking on the street, with, like, mace, tear gas and these rubber bullets," said one witness.

"I think this year, it was not as bad as last year, but I think the police are being much more aggressive," said another. "I think the pepper spray was a little much - rubber bullets were a little much.

Howard says officials are looking out for the safety of the community and will remain in the area all night.

According to the school, the large number of visitors to the Pumpkin Festival contributed to the incident.

"One large assembly on Winchester Street drew multiple responses from Keene Police on Saturday afternoon. The college is not able to report on injuries or arrests," said Keene State College in a statement. "These incidents do involve Keene State students, and also visitors to Keene."

The school added that it is communicating with current students and their parents.

Lillian Savage brought her kids to the Pumpkin Festival on Saturday.

"All you could see was smoke, lots of screaming, lots of drunken rage really," she said. "I have been coming here since I was a kid and I loved it and now this. I will never come back - ever."

At this point, there are no official reports of any serious injuries in Saturday's riots.

<![CDATA[Gunfire Outside Chuck E. Cheese’s]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 17:50:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/141018-chuck-e-cheese-shooting-carson.jpg

Gunfire broke out between two groups arguing outside a Southern California Chuck E. Cheese’s on Saturday night, sheriff’s officials said.

The shooting took place about 7:30 p.m. at the restaurant at 20700 S. Avalon Blvd. in Carson (map), the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

A door and window were hit by gunfire, investigators said, but there were no reports of anyone hurt.

Three people were detained in connection with the shooting, officials said.

No further information was immediately available.

<![CDATA[Duncan's Fiancée Releases Statement]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:24:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/141001-thomas-eric-duncan-cropped-02_38940a433d65a2b3f4b944bdd2a083bf.nbcnews-fp-320-240.jpg

The first group of people exposed to Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to die from Ebola in the United States, will no longer be considered at risk for the Ebola virus at midnight on Sunday.

After three weeks of isolation or self-monitoring, 47 people -- including Duncan's fiancée Louise Troh, her 13-year-old son and two nephews --- will be cleared and allowed to go on with their lives.

Troh released a statement through Wilshire Baptist Church Pastor Mark Wingfield on Sunday, just hours before she and her family are set to complete their 21-day quarantine.

"Our happiness is mixed with sadness at the same time. My beloved fiancé, Thomas Eric Duncan, who was also the father of my son, Karsiah Eric Duncan, did not survive with us. We continue to mourn his loss and grieve the circumstances that led to his death, just at the time we thought we were facing a happy future together," Troh said.

Wingfield says they've heard people blame Duncan's family for the Ebola situation in Dallas, but say Duncan would never have knowingly come to the U.S. from Liberia risking the spread of infection or knowing he was infected.

"They got caught in this situation unbeknownst to them and it's not that they've done anything wrong and it's very hard to understand when you're in their shoes, why anyone out there would try to place blame on them or on Eric, who they firmly believe did not know he was infected," said Wingfield.

Two nurses who treated Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital before his death on Oct. 8 are now being treated for Ebola.

"Our hearts also go out to the two brave women who have been infected by this terrible disease as they were trying to help him," Troh said.

"We are also aware of how much this has affected many other people of my city, Dallas, and my country, the United States of America, even as it has in the country of my birth, Liberia. We also know that many people who work in Presbyterian Hospital are hurting because of this tragedy. We pray that God will bring healing to all in our community soon," she wrote.

Troh said she and her family are asking for privacy once they're released from the quarantine.

Here's Troh's full statement:

Tomorrow, my family and I will complete the 21-day quarantine period we were required to undergo because of the Ebola virus in Dallas. We are so happy this is coming to an end, and we are so grateful that none of us has shown any sign of illness.

Our happiness is mixed with sadness at the same time. My beloved fiancé, Thomas Eric Duncan, who was also the father of my son, Karsiah Eric Duncan, did not survive with us. We continue to mourn his loss and grieve the circumstances that led to his death, just at the time we thought we were facing a happy future together. Our hearts also go out to the two brave women who have been infected by this terrible disease as they were trying to help him. We are also aware of how much this has affected many other people of my city, Dallas, and my country, the United States of America, even as it has in the country of my birth, Liberia. We also know that many people who work in Presbyterian Hospital are hurting because of this tragedy. We pray that God will bring healing to all in our community soon.

We thank all people of kindness who have prayed for us during this time, and we join your prayers now for others who are suffering too. We have lost so much, but we have our lives and we have our faith in God, which always gives us hope.

Even though the quarantine is over, our time of mourning is not over. Because of that, we ask to be given privacy as we seek to rebuild our home, our family and our daily living. We will not give any interviews at this time. I do have a story to tell, and I look forward to telling it in my own way at the right time.

At this time, I would like to give my thanks to Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins for all the help and kindness they have shown me in the last three weeks. These two men have cared about me as a person. The many people who work with and for them, and also the state health workers who have cared for us, have been angels from God who have kept our spirits up through all of this. And of course I want to thank all my family, the Liberian community, and my friends at Wilshire Baptist Church. I look forward to seeing you all soon.

All glory be to God.

<![CDATA[Woman Rescued From Chimney]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 03:02:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*126/woman+rescued.JPG

A woman allegedly attempting to burglarize a two-story home in Thousand Oaks, California, had to be rescued by firefighters after getting stuck in a chimney Sunday morning.

Firefighters responded around 6 a.m. to the 1900 block of Woodside Drive to a report of a person stuck in a chimney, according to the Twitter account of Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Mike Lindbery.

The woman was about eight feet down the chimney, and rescuers had to dismantle the brick structure to get to her, officials said.

The woman was removed from the chimney around 8:15 a.m. and was conscious. She was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

The woman, identified as 30-year-old Genoveva Nunez-Figueroa, was arrested.

According to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, the homeowner knows the woman in the chimney. She was expected to be arrested on suspicion of burglary after being evaluated at the hospital.

Photo Credit: Ventura County Fire Department/Mike Lindbery]]>
<![CDATA[Owner Sold Heroin out of Store: PD]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 22:06:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Stop-and-Save-Heroin-Bust.jpg

A New Jersey grocery store owner was arrested for allegedly selling heroin out of his business.

State Police raided the Stop and Save Market on Main Street in Pleasantville, New Jersey Friday afternoon. Authorities told NBC10 they began investigating the store about three weeks ago. Using drug-sniffing dogs, police found 400 bags of heroin and a large amount of cash, according to investigators.

“It was an open-air narcotic market going on from inside the store,” said Pleasantville Police Captain Rocky Melendez. “He wasn’t really concealing the fact that it was right over the counter.”

The store’s owner, 29-year-old Kamran Khalid, was arrested and charged with possession and distribution within a school zone and other related offenses, according to police.

“I was over there last week getting some items for dinner and I had no idea that that was going on,” said James Owens of Pleasantville.

Pleasantville is in the process of revitalizing and cleaning up its downtown area. Officials told NBC10 they conducted the heroin bust in the middle of the day in order to send a message.

“This is about show and tell,” said Pleasantville Mayor Jesse Tweedle, Sr. “We show better than we tell. Now they see that we’re for real.”

The Stop and Save Market was shut down and the city plans to revoke its business license.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Killed by Flying Tow Hook]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 21:20:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/farm_generic.jpg

A Delaware man is dead after he was impaled by a tow hook that crashed through the windshield of a tractor trailer.

On Saturday around 8:45 a.m., George Lynam Jr., 66, of Middletown, Delaware was behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer fully loaded with corn that was stuck in a muddy field on the north side of Marl Pit Road in Middletown.

Robert Baker, 64, of Odessa, tried to tow the tractor-trailer out of the mud by using a farm tractor attached to a grain hopper.

As the tractor trailer was being pulled from the muddy field, the tow hook broke loose off the back of the grain hopper and was propelled through the driver’s side window, striking Lynam in the upper torso.

Lynam was taken to the Christiana Hospital Trauma Center where he was later pronounced dead.

Baker wasn’t hurt during the incident.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Brooklyn 9/11 Memorial Vandalized]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 18:09:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/101814sept11.JPG

A man was arrested Saturday in connection with the vandalism of a 9/11 memorial in Brooklyn, police said.

The 58-year-old homeless man was arrested on a charge of criminal mischief, police said. It wasn't immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

The arrest came after police released surveillance video they say recorded the man walking near the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance at the MCU Park stadium in Coney Island early Friday. The video was taken shortly after the man smeared white paint on the memorial, according to the NYPD. Police initially identified the suspect in the video as a woman.  

The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance is made up of three granite slabs bearing the laser-engraved images of first responders who died in the 9/11 attacks.

<![CDATA[30 Injured in Chaos at Pumpkin Fest]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 10:35:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Keene+Riot+Aftermath.jpg

Riot crews were out in full force twice Saturday during a pumpkin festival near Keene State College in New Hampshire after an afternoon party got out of control and raucous crowds returned at night.

In the afternoon incident, at least 30 people were injured near Keene State College. Twenty people were transported to hospitals, according to Keene Fire Chief Mark Howard, who said that injuries appeared to be minor at this time.

At that same time, there had been about 12 arrests.

Just before 10 p.m., fires were lit and police unloaded tear gas into another crowd that gathered.

Nashua Police was called in to assist Keene Police. Their Special Response Team has been activated.

Most of the injuries during the day were caused by people getting hit by objects, including bottles.

The incident took place around 2:30 p.m. at a party near the intersection of Winchester Court and Winchester Street, adjacent to the school's campus.

A large police and fire presence remained at the scene through the afternoon. The city, which already had four times the ordinary number of first responders on for the event, had to call in even more reinforcements.

"We have several resources here, but yes, it was well beyond a normal response," said Howard.

Bystanders describe the chaos as police tried to control the unruly crowd.

"They just started walking on the street, with, like, mace, tear gas and these rubber bullets," said one witness.

"I think this year, it was not as bad as last year, but I think the police are being much more aggressive," said another. "I think the pepper spray was a little much - rubber bullets were a little much.

Howard says officials are looking out for the safety of the community and will remain in the area all night.

"I was in Keene this afternoon and met with our public safety officials and visited the medical tent and other volunteers," wrote Gov. Maggie Hassan in a statement. "We will continue to monitor the situation and provide any assistance necessary to Keene."

According to the school, the large number of visitors to the Pumpkin Festival contributed to the incident.

"One large assembly on Winchester Street drew multiple responses from Keene Police on Saturday afternoon. The college is not able to report on injuries or arrests," said Keene State College in a statement. "These incidents do involve Keene State students, and also visitors to Keene."

The school added that it is communicating with current students and their parents.

"I am saddened and disheartened at the events surrounding this year's Keene Pumpkin Festival," said Keene State College President Anne Huot in a statement Saturday night. "Despite the concerted efforts of organizers, city officials, police, and Keene State College, there continued to be disruptive behavior at parties in multiple locations around the city, injuries, and property damage."

Huot said that the school intends to hold the students who "played a part in this behavior."

"This is an issue that we can only solve together and we, at Keene State College, are eager to renew in earnest the conversation that leads to meaningful change," she said.

According to Keene State College, off-campus incidents occurred Friday but subsided overnight.

NECN will have more as this story develops.

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<![CDATA[Accused NJ Car Thief Arrested]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 10:15:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/new+brunswick+chase.jpg

A wild chase between a car thief and the car's owner on the streets of New Brunswick, New Jersey, took out several cars along the way, including police vehicles, and injured two people, police say. 

Police got involved at about 12:30 p.m. as a 22-year-old suspect tried to flee in a stolen 2008 black Kia SUV while being chased by the Kia's owner, who was in a red Volvo, near Neilson and Paterson streets, police said. 

When the suspect hit traffic on Church Street, he reversed in the Kia and rammed into the Volvo behind him, according to police. Officers tried to stop him there, but the suspect took off again, driving in an "erratic and elusive" manner.

The suspect encountered more traffic at George Street, and he cut across the sidewalk to try to escape police, authorities said. He continued down the street, hitting two police cars and two private cars along the way.

The chase finally ended near Albany Street, where the suspect, Robert White Jr. of New Brunswick, was taken into custody.

Two people in one of the struck civilian cars had minor injuries and were treated on scene by EMS. 

"It was lucky no one got hurt more than that," said Kartik Patel, manager of the BurgerFi restaurant near the crash scene. 

Cellphone video taken by Brian Kelly, a customer inside a Starbucks on George Street, showed people huddling after the crash, thinking they'd heard gunshots.

"Everyone dropped down to the floor, I'd say for a minute and a half until everything was clear," said Dave Nowinsky. 

White was charged with eluding, assault by auto, receiving stolen property and numerous traffic violations. 

<![CDATA[Judge Won't Toss Tsarnaev Evidence]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:01:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tsarnaev1.jpg

A federal judge won't throw out evidence found in Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's dorm room, laptop and family apartment in the case against him.

Judge George O'Toole Jr. rejected defense lawyers' two bids to suppress evidence on Friday, as well as another request to have the indictment against Tsarnaev tossed.

Lawyers for Tsarnaev had asked the judge to toss the evidence collected from his UMass-Dartmouth dorm room, his brother Tamerlan's Cambridge apartment and the brothers' Yahoo email accounts, saying that the search warrants weren't specific enough and that some items were improperly seized.

The defense had also hoped to delay the trial, which is scheduled to start Jan. 5.

Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan, who died in a shootout with police after the attacks, are accused of carrying out the April 2013 bombings that killed three people and injured about 260 more when they exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line. An MIT officer was later fatally shot sitting in his cruiser. 

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Meanwhile, closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday in the trial of one of Tsarnaev's friends. Robel Phillipos is accused of obstruction of justice. 

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Pilot Opens Up on Ebola Missions]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 00:09:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/219*120/Nina+Pham+plane+Dallas.JPG

The pilot who flew a Dallas nurse with Ebola to Maryland for treatment Thursday says the task of ferrying patients with the deadly disease on life-saving missions is always gratifying, and says none of his crew members has had any problems.

Randy Davis, vice president of Phoenix Air, was the pilot who brought Nina Pham, 26, the first nurse to fall ill with Ebola after treating the first U.S.-diagnosed patient, from Dallas to Maryland on Thursday night. He had earlier helped fly now-recovered Ebola patient Nancy Writebol back from Liberia.

"You're always gratified when you know you're helping someone directly," Davis said. "You can see their face. You can see them walk in and out of your aircraft."

Davis is not nervous about the missions. "Not a single Phoenix Air flight crew personnel or medical personnel has had any problem whatsoever," he explained.

On the company's last two missions, there were two pilots in the cockpit and three medical staff members, including one person overseeing the process. That person doesn't wear protective gear, as he serves as the eyes and ears of the staff.

Davis' company has been a part of a dozen Ebola-related missions, but it wasn't until the last two days — when it flew Pham to Maryland, and her Ebola-stricken coworker Amber Vinson to Atlanta — that it had flown patients within the U.S.

"We're very happy that all the Americans we've brought home are still alive. Some of them have already walked out of their hospital," Davis said.

Nina Pham is currently "resting comfortably" at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, where she was flown Thursday and is in fair but stable condition, officials said Friday.

Amber Vinson is being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where she was flown Wednesday, but neither the hospital nor her family have said Friday what her condition is.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Who Is Ebola Nurse Amber Vinson?]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 01:36:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Amber-Vinson-1200x675.jpg

Amber Joy Vinson is the second American nurse to contract the Ebola virus after treating the first patient who was diagnosed in the United States at a Dallas hospital.

Here's what we know so far about Vinson, her background, her treatment, the people who may have come in contact with her and precautions being taken.


Amber Joy Vinson, 29, is a nurse who was planning her upcoming wedding before she was diagnosed with Ebola this week.

Vinson is from Akron, Ohio, and has two degrees from Kent State University, where three of her relatives work. She was licensed as a registered nurse in Ohio in 2009 and remains licensed there, records show, though she has since moved to Dallas. She became an R.N. in Texas in 2012.

A relative told NBC News that Vinson was drawn to healthcare work at a young age and called her "sweet and kind."

"She wanted to help people. Amber has always been kind and compassionate," said Diane Sloane Rhynes, whose late brother was married to Vinson's mother for several years and who considers Vinson her niece.

Vinson had flown from Dallas to Ohio on Oct. 10 to visit her family there and plan her upcoming May wedding, before she returned Oct. 13. Now, she is being treated in isolation for Ebola.


Vinson, 29, is a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas and was part of the team that treated Thomas Eric Duncan — the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States — after he was hospitalized for the virus in late September.

She had worn protective gear including face shields, hazardous materials suits and protective footwear as she inserted catheters, drew blood and dealt with Duncan's body fluids. She was working on three days when Duncan experienced "extensive production" of diarrhea and vomiting, the CDC said.  

Vinson was hospitalized with symptoms on Tuesday, Oct. 14, and tested positive for Ebola a day later. It is still not clear how she contracted the virus, leading the CDC to call her diagnosis "a serious concern."


Vinson flew from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 10, two days after Duncan died, to visit her mother and fiancé and to plan her upcoming wedding, a health official said. She flew back to DFW on Monday, Oct. 13, on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143.

Vinson, who had been self-monitoring and was reporting her temperature to epidemiology teams routinely, had called the CDC before flying from Cleveland back to Dallas, saying she had a temperature of 99.5 degrees, an unidentified government spokesman told NBC News.

At the time, CDC guidance indicated that potentially exposed health care workers categorized as "uncertain risk" could fly commercially if they did not have a temperature of 100.4 degrees. She was not told that she should not fly.

However, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said Wednesday that Vinson should not have boarded the plane to Dallas, because of her slight temperature and because she had had contact with Duncan. 

A day after she landed, she was hospitalized, and one day later, she was confirmed to have contracted the potentially deadly disease. 


The CDC contacted and interviewed 105 of the 132 people aboard Frontier Airlines Flight 1143, the flight she took from Cleveland home to DFW on Oct. 13. Several passengers who were near her on the plane will be monitored by health officials for symptoms, the agency said Oct. 16.

Passengers on the flight are being split into two groups: those who are at low risk, and the “few passengers” who sat close to Vinson. Those who are at low risk and will be kept informed, while those who were close to her will be interviewed and monitored for fever and other symptoms for 21 days.

Frontier was also contacting passengers on Vinson's flight from Dallas to Cleveland, even though she was asymptomatic at that time. They also want to talk to hundreds more passengers who were on five other flights that the plane she took Monday made after she returned to Dallas.

The president of the airline, Barry Biffle, indicated Oct. 17 that Vinson may have been at a more advanced stage of the illness when flying than previously thought. The airline shared CDC findings with employees in an email. Crewmembers on the flights are at a very low risk of exposure, according to the CDC, yet as a precaution, the airline put the pilots and flight attendants on leave for 21 days--the amount of time experts believe it would take for someone exposed to Ebola to become sick.


Ohio health officials are still trying to determine how many people might have been exposed while Vinson was visiting the state before testing positive for Ebola.

Officials are monitoring the health of 16 people in the state who had contact with Vinson — 12 in Summit County, which includes Akron, and four in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, according to The Associated Press. None of those people has shown any symptoms of the virus, health officials said.

Ohio health investigators are also tracking down people who visited Akron bridal shop Coming Attractions when Vinson was there with friends Saturday afternoon and set up a hotline for customers who may have been exposed. The shop's owners voluntarily shuttered it temporarily after Vinson was diagnosed. 


Vinson was flown Wednesday, wearing a hazmat bubble suit, to Atlanta to be treated at Emory University Hospital, the same hospital where three Americans have been treated with Ebola and where two of them have recovered.

She is being treated there in isolation in a biocontainment unit. Her family said Thursday she was in stable condition.

Emory had previously treated both Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, American aid workers who contracted Ebola in Liberia and who later recovered after successful treatment at Emory. A third unidentified American is also being treated there.

Her family said Thursday, Oct. 16, that they are "overwhelmed with support" as she battles the virus. The hospital did not release her condition Friday.


Texas authorities are taking additional precautions to prevent the virus from spreading, asking other health workers who treated Duncan not to travel with the public or go anywhere that people congregate. 

Frieden added that an investigation had found that some workers at the Dallas hospital layered some of their protective gear and taped their gloves to their hands, two behaviors that can increase the risk of contracting the virus.

Vinson may have been sick as early as Friday, Oct. 10, the day she flew to Ohio, the CDC said at a briefing on Oct. 17. The timing of when she fell ill is important, because patients with the virus are only contagious when they are sick.

Photo Credit: Twitter
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Teacher On Leave Over Ebola Fears]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 03:42:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ebola+alysha.jpg

An elementary school teacher in Strong, Maine was placed on paid leave over Ebola fears after a trip to Dallas--even though there is no indication the teacher came into contact with anyone infected with the virus.

The school district posted a statement on its website indicating that parents had expressed concern about their children possibly contracting the virus from the teacher, who had recently traveled to Dallas. There have been three confirmed Ebola cases in the Texas city since Sept. 30, though the teacher, who was not identified, is not believed to have come into contact with anyone who has been infected or exposed to the virus, the district's statement said.

Still, "after several discussions with the staff member and out of an abundance of caution," the district decided to place the teacher on leave for 21 days--the amount of time health experts say it takes for possible symptoms to show. 

Locals had mixed opinions about the district's decision.

"They didn't want her to come back with it," said Strong resident Roscoe Libby. "They did the right thing."

Fellow resident Sue Kennedy disagreed. "She should be able to teach and go back to school...she wasn't in contact with anybody who might have had it," she said.

Dr. Gene Beresin, Executive Director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds, and a psychiatrist at Mass General and Harvard Medical School, says while over-precautions, like those taken by the Maine school district may only serve to breed fear, they reflect normal instincts.

“The first response is typically hysterical and catastrophic thinking," said Dr. Beresin. "Our brains just get tweaked because we’re afraid of dying, we’re afraid of contagion, we’re afraid of the unknown.”

Dr. Beresin says once we overcome that initial feeling of panic, it helps to focus on the facts and become educated about the disease. And he says that it starts with people in powerful positions, like community leaders, health care workers and even parents.

“Parents have to curb their own anxiety and hysteria because, it’s contagious," said Dr. Beresin. "It’s more contagious than Ebola.”

<![CDATA[Rival Gets Hands on Campaign Book]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 01:14:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/carl+demaio+scott+peters.JPG

A new bombshell dropped Friday in the race for California’s 52nd Congressional District when both candidates confirmed a Carl DeMaio campaign strategy book, allegedly stolen during an office break-in, found its way into the hands of incumbent Scott Peters’ staff.

It is the latest revelation in an already ugly race peppered with attack ads and sexual harassment allegations.

The two had a chilly meeting Friday morning at a taping of NBC 7’s Politically Speaking, as DeMaio walked right by Peters’ hand outstretched for a handshake.

During the session, DeMaio discussed the burglary and vandalism at his campaign headquarters on May 28. Cords and cables were cut, water was poured over laptops and printers, computer screens were smashed in and one important item was taken: DeMaio’s campaign playbook.

The candidate confronted Peters about the book on “Politically Speaking.”

“And Mr. Peters, I just want to ask a very simple question. Did your campaign come into possession of our strategy book, all of our direct mail pieces in the last five months?” asked DeMaio.

Peters responded with: “In early June, information was forwarded to our campaign which we immediately turned over to the police.”

DeMaio pressed the issue, asking Peters why he did not let his opponent’s campaign know that he had seen DeMaio’s playbook all along.

“I’ve obviously never seen it,” said Peters. “We turned it directly over to the police within 24 hours of getting it because what was contained in it was potentially part of a criminal investigation.”

He added his campaign manager “looked at it enough to know what it was.”

On Friday evening, Peters' Communciation Director Alex Roth sent out the following statement about the revelation:

"To clarify, we do not know what a campaign playbook is; nor has our campaign ever received anything that could be characterized as 'a campaign playbook' as Mr. DeMaio called it. To reiterate, our campaign staff received information in early June that we immediately transmitted in its entirety to the police.This is nothing more than an attempt by Mr. DeMaio to divert attention away from the Filner-esque sexual harassment allegations that have been made against him.”

During the show's taping, Peters said he felt as if he had been cast as the perpetrator of the break-in, which was portrayed with Watergate-like overtones when it first happened.

DeMaio told his opponent he does not believe Peters had anything to do with the burglary.

Instead, he blames former aide Todd Bosnich.

Bosnich has publicly accused DeMaio of sexually harassing him while he worked for the former San Diego City Councilman, releasing the results of a polygraph test that he says support his claims.

Called the allegations “outrageous lies,” DeMaio said Bosnich is trying to get revenge for being fired as a suspect in the break-in.

However, the candidate said he will not take a polygraph exam to rebut Bosnich’s allegations.

CNN reports Bosnich's lawyers sent the news outlet the results to a second polygraph test Friday in which Bosnich was asked if he broke into the campaign headquarters last May. The test shows Bosnich's "no" answers were "truthful and found "no deception."

Bosnich confirmed the story to NBC 7 via text message.

DeMaio's spokesman David McCulloch defended the candidate, saying in a statement, "Both Carl DeMaio and Tommy Knepper — named in a series of vile smear attacks — have taken lie detector tests that have shown these smears are baseless. Meanwhile, Mr. Peters admitted on NBC7/39 this morning that his campaign received stolen property from our campaign — begging the question: who provided this sensitive campaign material?"  

You can watch the full DeMaio-Peters debate during the full half-hour edition of “Politically Speaking” on NBC 7 Sunday morning at 9 a.m., following “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd.

<![CDATA["I Have Ebola": Scare Clears Court]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:43:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/bond+court+ebola.jpg

A South Florida courtroom was cleared Friday amid a brief Ebola scare caught on camera, after a man allegedly told police arresting him, “I have Ebola.” 

Joseph Britton insisted in Broward County bond court as his police report was being read that officers had taken his remark out of context, just as Judge John Hurley advised his lawyer to back away, fast.

“Uh-oh, uh-oh. Mr. Miller, I’d back up pretty quick if I were you,” Hurley said. “I don't know. I don't know — what do we do?”

Hurley had just read something in the arrest report for Britton that had caught him off-guard.

“Mr. Britton, take a step to the right. This man claims he has Ebola,” Hurley read from the report, before he turned to a deputy in the courtroom. “Now, I believe you should clear the courtroom of all prisoners.”

While Britton was being arrested Thursday on charges of battery, disorderly conduct and resisting an officer, he told officers, “I have Ebola,” according to the police report.

After reading the report, Hurley ordered officials to clear the jailhouse courtroom. Inmates grumbled as they were ordered out of the room. "He's making it worse for everybody right now, man," one said.

All the while, Britton said the entire situation was a misunderstanding.

“The officer took it out of context,” Britton said.

According to Fort Lauderdale police, the officer who wrote the report was trying to document Britton’s intent to create a disturbance by claiming he had Ebola and making other expletive-filled exclamations.

Police arresting him didn't notice any symptoms that led them to believe he actually had Ebola, and Britton later denied making the claim, police said.

The Sun Sentinel reported that jailhouse deputies put on protective suits and the jail was locked down as the claims were investigated. It remained locked down until 3 p.m. while a contractor cleaned the spaces where Britton had been, the Sentinel reported.

In the end, it turned out the inmate had been checked out Thursday night and was cleared, but no one had told Judge Hurley.

“I am 99.99 percent sure that this person does not have Ebola,” Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said. “The screening questions were asked of this gentleman, the inmate, last night. There was no reason to be concerned based on his answers to several questions. So, he was put in a cell.”

That cell is where Britton remained Friday night after being cleared by health officials. His bond court appearance was rescheduled for Saturday.

Photo Credit: Courtesy The South Florida Sun Sentinel]]>
<![CDATA[Ebola-Infected Nurse in Fair But Stable Condition]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 07:29:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2014-10-16_2208.jpg

The first Dallas nurse diagnosed with Ebola is in fair but stable condition after being flown to Maryland for treatment at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, her doctors said Friday.

Nina Pham's admitting physician Dr. Anthony Fauci said Pham is "still experiencing some symptoms" but is "resting comfortably."

"We fully intend on having this patient walk out this hospital and we'll do everything we can to make that happen," Fauci said at a news conference Friday morning.

Pham appeared to be in good spirits in a rare, emotional video shot in her Dallas hospital room Thursday, just before she was flown to Maryland.

"Come to Maryland, everybody!" patient Nina Pham told Dr. Gary Weinstein and another health care worker treating her in the video, both of them wearing full protective suits, as the three of them became emotional. "I love you guys," she said.

Pham, who contracted Ebola after caring for patient Thomas Eric Duncan at a Dallas hospital, is now in the "care of physicians nurses and technicians with extensive training, experience and knowledge of infectious disease and infectious disease control,” Fauci said. Pham, 26, is the first patient diagnosed with the disease in the U.S.

She was flown to Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday night, after having been treated at the Dallas hospital where she works, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Her plane touched down at about 10:35 p.m. Pham was able to walk from the plane to a waiting ambulance.

Some residents of Frederick drove to the airport to witness Pham's arrival.

"I don't think people are worried," said resident Dan Horan. "I think they have confidence that NIH and people know what they're doing."

But another resident, Frances Brown, told News4, "I have concerns about the people of Frederick County, that, you know, they shouldn't be bringing this young lady into Frederick Airport, Frederick, Maryland. So take her somewhere else."

A young woman who visited the scene at the airport bore a sign reading, "Get well soon, Nina."

Pham's ambulance arrived at NIH shortly before midnight. She was expected to be taken directly to the Clinical Center, a hospital located on the grounds of the 312-acre campus in Bethesda.

Pham contracted Ebola while helping to care for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S., from the day he was placed in intensive care at Texas Health Presbyterian until the day before he died Oct. 8, NBC5 in Dallas reports.

As medical workers prepared to transport Pham via ambulance to Dallas' Love Field Thursday, her coworkers at Texas Health Presbyterian held up signs to encourage her.

Drivers in Texas were asked to honk in support of Pham if they saw her ambulance motorcade.

Pham was transported to Maryland on a charter flight operated by Phoenix Air, which took off around 8:10 p.m. and arrived at the Frederick, Maryland, Municipal Airport a little more than two hours later. From there, Pham was taken to NIH in Bethesda.

Fauci, one of the most highly respected immunologists in the world and the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Pham is now in the "care of physicians nurses and technicians with extensive training, experience and knowledge of infectious disease and infectious disease control."

Frederick's mayor, Randy McClement, said the State Department, Centers for Disease Control and local, state and federal health officials were all working to make sure the transfer happened safely.

"This transfer is being handled by experienced professionals who have coordinated the transport of many similar cases without incident," McClement said in a statement. "I have been assured that every precaution will be taken to move the patient safely and securely and to provide critical care en route."

Pham, meanwhile, expressed her gratitude.

"I'm so thankful for the outpouring of love and support from friends and family, my coworkers and complete strangers," Pham said in a statement released through Texas Health Presbyterian on Thursday. "I feel very blessed, and have gained strength from their support. I appreciate everything that my coworkers have done to care for me at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. I'm doing really well thanks to this team, which is the best in the world. I believe in my talented coworkers. I am #presbyproud!"

Texas Health Presbyterian said the decision to transfer Pham was made in consultation with Pham and her family, adding that many of the medical personnel who would usually work in the intensive care unit are currently "sidelined" for monitoring.

"It was a difficult decision to transfer Nina, a member of our own family and someone who is greatly loved and respected," said Dr. Gary Weinstein, chief of pulmonology and critical care medicine, in the statement. "We're so glad she has improved so much in such a short amount of time. Our prayers are with her, and she'll be in wonderful hands at NIH."

Pham will be admitted to the Special Clinical Studies Unit of the NIH Clinical Center, which is "specifically designed to provide high-level isolation," according to a statement released by NIH. The transfer request was made by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, according to NIH.

Pham will occupy one of two beds NIH has for Ebola patients. Last month, an American doctor who was exposed to Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone was monitored at NIH for the virus, but tested negative.

Fauci said it's too soon to say whether Pham will receive any experimental treatments, The Dallas Morning News reported.

"We're going to make that decision when she arrives," Fauci said, according to the newspaper. "I haven’t seen her yet. We haven't had the opportunity to examine her. So as soon as we get her into the unit and do the appropriate diagnostics -- we'll ask her first if we can make a statement because there's patient privacy involved."

Pham will be the first patient diagnosed with Ebola to be treated at NIH.

The staff in the Special Clinical Studies Unit is trained to prevent the spread of infectious diseases using "strict infection control practices."

NIH says it is taking every precaution to ensure the safety of its patients, staff and the public.

Pham and other health care workers wore protective gear, including gowns, gloves, masks and face shields -- and sometimes full-body suits -- when caring for Duncan, but she became the first person to contract the disease within the United States.

Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person or exposure to contaminated objects, such as needles. It's not clear how Pham contracted the disease.

Duncan contracted the disease in his home country of Liberia after neighbors said he helped take a woman dying of Ebola to the hospital. Officials have said Duncan did not disclose having contact with an Ebola patient before he flew to Dallas to visit family members.

The D.C. Department of Health said Thursday that so far there have been 12 patients who have been presented with Ebola-like symptoms in their jurisdiction, and all of them have been cleared.

D.C. Department of Health Director Dr. Joxel Garcia said every hospital in the District is fully prepared to handle an Ebola patient, and there's no reason to panic. He said a task force is in place to monitor other jurisdictions and determine best practices.

The District is not requiring schools to ask students about their travel to West Africa, Garcia said, adding that they don't want to create a stigma for people traveling to Africa.

On Thursday, Dulles International Airport began temperature screenings for travelers coming from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in West Africa. Passengers are also being asked about exposure to anyone sick in conjunction with their temperature being taken with no-touch thermometers.

Airport officials expect to screen 15 to 55 people per day.

Several other airports have implemented similar screenings.

A second nurse who also cared for Duncan at the Dallas hospital tested positive for Ebola days after Pham. Amber Joy Vinson, 29, has been transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Vinson is being treated in the special isolation unit where three other American Ebola patients have been treated, the hospital said Wednesday night. Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were both successfully treated and discharged, and a third unidentified American still being treated there.

NBC5 contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Nurses Rally at Ebola Hospital]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:26:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/presby-rally-nurse1.jpg

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurses held a rally Friday afternoon to show support for the hospital following some criticism they mishandled the Ebola situation in recent weeks.

Earlier in the day, hospital officials posted two videos on YouTube complete with the catch phrase "I'm PresbyProud." They also started using the Twitter hashtag #PresbyProud.

This campaign comes in response to allegations made by Texas Health Presbyterian nurse Brianna Aguirre, who blasted the hospital for not having proper protective gear for nurses treating Ebola on the "Today" show.

"We have acknowledged that we made mistakes and that we are deeply sorry," hospital officials said in a press release.

The press release issued by the hospital also stated that employees are encouraged to raise issues and concerns via the chain of command.

"Texas Health Dallas employees have two mechanisms available to anonymously raise issues about safety concerns or related matters," the release stated. "It is important to note that no Texas Health Dallas employee did so concerning their care of Mr. Duncan or our two co-workers."

The release continued by stating that much of the information being reported is "loosely based on fact," but "often out-of-context and sensationalized" or "completely inaccurate." Hospital officials said they conducted interviews with more than 100 people involved the care of Duncan and reported being compliance with all CDC guidelines.

"The CDC guidelines changed frequently," the release stated. "Nonetheless, they endeavored to remain compliant with what was communicated as the most recent and appropriate guideline."

Hospital officials also wanted to dispel rumors about the nurses' commitment to their jobs.

"They are understandably worried and concerned in the eye of this storm, but they are steadfastly supporting their patients, each other and the hospital they love," the release stated.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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