Published: Tue, January 01, 2019
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

American doctor possibly exposed to Ebola brought to U.S. for treatment

American doctor possibly exposed to Ebola brought to U.S. for treatment

The physician, who has not been identified due to privacy concerns, returned to Nebraska on Saturday, but doctors say there are now no signs of the deadly virus. Monitoring could last up to two weeks.

This person has no Ebola symptoms but will be monitored for up to 2 weeks in Omaha, Nebraska, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). Should any symptoms develop, the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit would be activated and the person admitted.

"This person may have been exposed to the virus but is not ill and is not contagious", said Ted Cieslak, infectious diseases specialist with Nebraska Medicine and associate professor of epidemiology in the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health.

This isn't the first time possible Ebola patients were treated at the Nebraska Medical Center. The individual was transported by private plane and auto, they said. Attacks on government outposts and civilians by dozens of armed militias have complicated the work of Ebola response teams, who often have had to suspend crucial work tracking cases and isolating people infected with the deadly virus. Early symptoms include headache, fever, chills and muscle pain.

The patient - who has not been named due to privacy reasons - is being held in an area that is not accessible by the public or other patients.

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Vote will still go ahead in the rest of the country, with results announced on 15 January and the inauguration three days later. The country's election commission then moved the date from December 23 to December 30 after a fire destroyed voting equipment.

The Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo is the second worst ever and has killed 356 of the 585 people infected since it began six months ago. Two of the three recovered, but one, who had been ill for more than a week before he was evacuated from Sierra Leone, died two days after arriving in Nebraska.

Unless the need arises, the UNMC will not be providing updates in the status of this individual during the monitoring period.

Nebraska Medical treated three patients with Ebola during the 2014 outbreak.

Should symptoms develop, the healthcare worker would be moved to the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, one of only a few in the United States for treating infectious diseases. In 2015, five Americans were monitored at the center after being exposed to the virus in West Africa, but none developed the disease. The deadly virus can infect a human in contact with monkeys, bats and other wildlife that make contact with a person's bodily fluids.

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