An American healthcare worker who has tested positive for Ebola is set to be transported from Sierra Leone back to the United States for treatment at the National Institutes of Health.
The affected individual will be traveling in a chartered aircraft in isolation and is set to be admitted to the NIH’s Clinical Center for treatment on Friday, according to the health agency. Nina Pham, the nurse who contracted Ebola while treating a Liberian patient in Dallas, but is now virus-free, was also treated at the center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Isolation is key for Ebola treatment as the deadly disease — more than 10,000 have been killed during the most recent outbreak in West Africa — is transmitted through human-to-human interaction. The clinical center has high-level isolation capabilities and specialists skilled in infectious diseases and critical care, according to the NIH. No identifying information about the new patient has been released.
“The unit staff is trained in strict infection control practices optimized to prevent spread of potentially transmissible agents such as Ebola,” according to an NIH statement released Thursday. “In addition, access to the unit is strictly controlled. NIH is taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our patients, NIH staff, and the public.”
The pending transport comes as a British military healthcare worker who has contracted the disease was being flown Thursday from Sierra Leone to the UK for treatment. While Ebola deaths are slowing in some areas — Liberia released its last Ebola patient earlier this month — the current outbreak is still beleaguering others.
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