DALLAS — The Texas nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for the first person to die of the virus in the U.S. has been identified as 26-year-old Nina Pham.
Health officials have not released the nurse’s name, but Yahoo News identified Pham through public records and a state nursing database.
Then on Monday, Pham’s family confirmed her identity to local Dallas ABC News affiliate WFAA.
Pham, a critical care nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas, is one of at least 50 people who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan before he passed away last Wednesday.
Pham has been in isolation since late Friday. The CDC confirmed her Ebola diagnosis on Sunday. It is the first time the deadly virus has ever been transmitted in the United States.
The Dallas resident is a 2010 graduate of Texas Christian University and has been a nurse since June 2010, according to state records.
CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden said Pham is in stable condition at Texas Health Presbyterian. An unidentified person Pham had close contact with last week is also in isolation at the hospital, but Frieden said that individual has not become ill.
Investigators have not determined how Pham specifically contracted the disease from Duncan, who died on his 10th day of intensive care at Texas Health Presbyterian.
“If this one individual was infected and we don’t know how — within the isolation unit — then it is possible that other individuals could have been infected as well,” Frieden said during a press conference. “We consider them to be at risk and we are doing an in-depth review and investigation.”
A day earlier, Frieden characterized the transmission from Duncan to Pham as a possible breach in safety protocols. On Monday he apologized for those remarks.
“Some interpreted that as finding fault with the hospital or the health care worker, and I’m sorry if that was the impression given, that was certainly not my intention,” Frieden said. “What we need to do, is all take responsibility for improving the safety of those on the front lines. I feel awful that a health care worker became infected in the care of an Ebola patient. She was there trying to help the first patient survive.”
Tom Ha, a longtime friend of Pham’s family, told the Dallas Morning News that it is in the nurse’s genes to go out of her way to assist others.
“I expect, with the big heart that she has, she went beyond what she was supposed to do to help anyone in need,” Ha told the newspaper