A press release issued today by the Texas Department of State Health Services:

Second Health Care Worker Tests Positive for Ebola
News Release
Oct. 15, 2014

A second health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States has tested positive for the disease.

The health care worker reported a fever Tuesday and was immediately isolated at the hospital.

Health officials have interviewed the latest patient to quickly identify any contacts or potential exposures, and those people will be monitored. The type of monitoring depends on the nature of their interactions and the potential they were exposed to the virus.

The worker was among those who took care of Thomas Eric Duncan after he was diagnosed with Ebola.

The preliminary Ebola test was run late Tuesday at the state public health laboratory in Austin, and results were received at about midnight.

Confirmatory testing on a separate specimen will be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person or exposure to contaminated objects such as needles. People are not contagious before symptoms such as fever develop.

Officials continue to suggest worker error, something the nurses union denies, via CNN:

The news cast further doubt on the hospital’s ability to handle Ebola and protect employees. It’s the same hospital that initially sent Thomas Eric Duncan home, even though he had a fever and had traveled from West Africa. By the time he returned to the hospital, his symptoms had worsened. He died while being treated by medical staff, including the two women who have now contracted the disease.

“I don’t think we have a systematic institutional problem,” Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer of Texas Health Resources, told reporters Wednesday, facing questions about the hospital’s actions.

Medical staff “may have done some things differently with the benefit of what we know today,” he said, adding, “no one wants to get this right more than our hospital.” ….
Also Tuesday, National Nurses United made troubling allegations about the hospital, claiming “guidelines were constantly changing” and “there were no protocols” about how to deal with the deadly virus.”

“The protocols that should have been in place in Dallas were not in place, and that those protocols are not in place anywhere in the United States as far as we can tell,” NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro said. “We’re deeply alarmed.”

UPDATE: How do we know the situation is serious? Obama just canceled political travel to deal with the situation, via AP:

President Barack Obama is cancelling political travel to meet with his Cabinet on the Ebola outbreak.

The White House says Obama is calling off a planned trip to New Jersey and Connecticut and instead will convene Cabinet officials coordinating the government’s Ebola response at the White House.