CLEVELAND — A Dallas nurse who tested positive for the Ebola virus after flying to Cleveland and returning home did not ignore medical or government protocols related to the disease, her family said.
In a statement issued Sunday through a Washington, D.C.-based spokesman, the family of nurse Amber Vinson said any suggestions otherwise are false and she wouldn't knowingly expose herself or anyone else to Ebola.
It said she reported her body temperature three times before boarding her flight home last week. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged Vinson checked in repeatedly and was cleared for travel.
Vinson cared for a man who died from the disease in Dallas. She was diagnosed last week, though officials are uncertain of how she became infected. She flew from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 10 and flew back Oct. 13.
Three people have been quarantined in northeast Ohio and more than 140 are being monitored following Vinson's visit to Ohio to prepare for her wedding, according to updated figures released by the state Monday. The three who were quarantined after the issuance of new monitoring guidelines by the state haven't exhibited Ebola-like symptoms, a Summit County Health Department representative said.
Initially, only Vinson's stepfather had been quarantined, in his home in suburban Akron. The two others, in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, and in Summit County, were quarantined later.
Ebola is spread through bodily fluids. Someone who is infected does not become contagious until he or she shows symptoms of the disease. Health officials have said Vinson exhibited some symptoms while in Ohio.
Gov. John Kasich ordered the new guidelines, which include travel restrictions, on Saturday. A state health official said the guidelines are meant to remove any chance of Ebola spreading.
"As we've seen, travel is a potential problem," state epidemiologist Dr. Mary DiOrio said. "It's why the people of Ohio are dealing with the situation we have right now."
Under the guidelines, anyone who has had direct contact with the skin, mucus membranes, blood or bodily fluids of someone diagnosed with Ebola must be quarantined for 21 days.
Anyone who did not have direct skin contact but reported spending more than an hour in close proximity to an infected person is not to travel commercially for 21 days. Such people also are to seek permission to travel outside the health jurisdictions where they live.
People who were in the same enclosed space as an Ebola carrier are not to travel outside the U.S.
Kasich said the federal government should ban travel from West African countries hit hardest by the Ebola epidemic, which has killed thousands of people, mainly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
There are now 142 people being monitored in Ohio because of contact or potential contact with Vinson, down from 153 on Sunday, the state said Monday. They include people with whom Vinson had direct contact, those who visited the Akron bridal shop where her bridesmaids tried on dresses Oct. 11 and those who were passengers on the flights she took.
The state says figures of people who may have had contact with the nurse change daily as officials gather information on the nature of the contact.
Vinson is being cared for at a specialized unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Her family said she is a "deeply committed nurse driven by a fundamental passion for helping others."
One of Vinson's Dallas hospital colleagues, Nina Pham, also is being treated for Ebola.