Patient exposed to Ebola transported to biocontainment unit at Nebraska Medicine

Posted By: KLKN Newsroom

From Nebraska Medical Center:

Omaha Neb.– An American health care provider working in West Africa who experienced a possible exposure to the Ebola virus has been transported to Nebraska Medicine’s Biocontainment Unit for further monitoring, and care if necessary. This person is one of four being monitored for Ebola after an exposure to a patient in Sierra Leone who is now being treated at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.

The individual developed symptoms Sunday evening while being monitored, and out of an abundance of caution, was brought to the unit. “At this point, this person has not tested positive for the Ebola virus,” said Phil Smith, M.D., medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at Nebraska Medicine. “However, because of a change in symptoms, we decided the most prudent course of action was to bring the individual to the Biocontainment Unit, where we can better monitor symptoms and safely perform testing. However, some of the symptoms which prompted the move to the Biocontainment Unit have resolved this morning.”

Dr. Smith emphasized there is no risk to the general public because this individual was separated from other patients and staff. People who develop Ebola aren’t contagious until they become symptomatic, and are likely to be most contagious later in the course of the illness. Contact with bodily fluids is the only way Ebola is transmitted. “Those monitoring this individual took all safety precautions when symptoms developed,” said Dr. Smith. “They all maintained their distance from this person and had no direct contact.”

Earlier this morning, we learned one more individual who was a part of the initial exposure in Sierra Leone will also be coming to the med center campus for monitoring later in the day on Monday.

A total of three patients with Ebola have been treated at Nebraska Medicine. Dr. Richard Sacra was treated and released in September 2014, NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo was treated and released in October 2014 and Dr, Martin Salia, who was gravely ill upon arrival, passed away from the virus after less than two days of treatment in November 2014. Two other people came from West Africa for monitoring in early 2015 prior to the current monitoring of the soon-to-be five individuals here currently.