Sunday, September 28, 2014

American Aid Worker Exposed to Ebola at NIH
Nurse working to halt the Ebola virus.
By Susan Levine
September 27, 2014 07:16 PM EDT

An American physician exposed to Ebola while caring for patients in West Africa has arrived at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

The Associated Press reported Sunday that the NIH confirmed the doctor’s arrival.

NIH said Saturday that the physician had been volunteering services at an Ebola treatment unit in Sierra Leone. The individual was to be admitted to the NIH Clinical Center for observation, as well as enrolled in a research study.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” the NIH announcement noted, the patient will be admitted to a “special clinical studies unit that is specifically designed to provide high-level isolation capabilities and is staffed by infectious diseases and critical care specialists.”

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stressed Saturday that just because a person is exposed to the virus does not mean he or she will become infected with it.

Two U.S. hospitals have treated medical missionaries who fell ill with Ebola from West Africa, where the Ebola outbreak has now claimed nearly 3,100 lives. Physician Kent Brantly and aid worker Nancy Writebol recovered at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and were discharged in August. Physician Rick Sacra was just released from Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. All three were infected while stationed in Liberia.

Another patient, who news reports have suggested could be a physician with the World Health Organization, remains a patient at the Emory hospital.

Earlier this month, NIH launched one of the first clinical trials on an experimental Ebola vaccine. Fauci said on Sept. 17 that half of the expected 20 volunteers had already received a dose with “no red flags” raised.

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