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October 17th, 2014
05:57 AM ET

Nurse May Have Had Symptoms of Ebola Longer Than First Thought

A nurse with Ebola may have shown symptoms of the virus as many as four days before authorities once indicated, meaning that she might have been contagious while flying on not just one, but two commercial flights, officials said Thursday.

Amber Vinson was hospitalized Tuesday, one day after she took a Frontier flight from Cleveland to Dallas. Tests later found that Vinson - who was among those who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, at Dallas' Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital - had Ebola.

Authorities indicated Vinson had a slightly elevated temperature of 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which was below the fever threshold for Ebola, but didn't show any symptoms of the disease while on her Monday flight. This is significant because a person isn't contagious with Ebola, which spreads through the transmission of bodily fluids, until he or she has symptoms of the disease.

But on Thursday, Dr. Chris Braden of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters in Ohio that "we have started to look at the possibility that she had symptoms going back as far as Saturday. ... We can't rule out (that) she might have had the start of her illness on Friday."

"So this new information now is saying we need to go back now to the flight that she took on Friday the 10th and include them in our investigation of contacts," said Braden.

The CDC announced later Thursday that is "expanding its outreach to airline passengers now to include those who flew from Dallas-Fort Worth to Cleveland on Frontier flight 1142" last Friday - which is how Vinson got to Ohio, from Texas, originally.

See more on this developing story on CNN.com

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