American doctor infected with Ebola returns to U.S.
konknaijaboy | On 02, Aug 2014
An American doctor stricken by Ebola in West Africa arrived home for treatment in Atlanta on Saturday, and U.S. government officials are urging the public to remain confident in the health-care system’s ability to keep the deadly disease isolated.
The first of two Americans stricken with the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia arrived at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta Saturday. (Reuters)
A charity organization, Samaritan’s Purse, said two Americans in serious condition with the disease were being evacuated: Kent Brantly, a Fort Worth doctor who had been treating Ebola victims in Liberia, and Nancy Writebol, a missionary from Charlotte.
Brantly and Writebol have been hospitalized in serious condition in Monrovia, the Liberian capital. Brantly was brought back to the United States first, in a specially equipped “air ambulance” aircraft that landed Saturday at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, in the northwest Atlanta suburbs, according to news reports.
He was being taken to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which has one of four facilities in the country designed to handle such cases.
Once at the hospital, one person in white protective clothing from head to toe climbed down from the back of the ambulance and a second person in the same type of hazmat-looking suit appeared to take his gloved hands and guide him toward a building at Emory, the Associated Press reported.
“The patients will be escorted throughout by specially and frequently trained teams that have sufficient resources to transport the patients so that there is no break in their medical care or exposure to others,” said Pentagon spokesman, Rear Adm. John F. Kirby.
The news of the return to U.S. soil of the two Ebola patients prompted a jittery response on social media, highlighting the special terror that the virus has come to carry for Americans familiar with movies such as “Outbreak” and the best-selling Richard Preston book “The Hot Zone.”
For example, there was a much-publicized tweet Friday from Donald Trump: “Stop the EBOLA patients from entering the U.S. Treat them, at the highest level, over there. THE UNITED STATES HAS ENOUGH PROBLEMS!”
Ebola is not nearly as contagious as many other pathogens, such as influenza, but it’s unusually lethal. This outbreak, easily the largest ever, began in Guinea in March and had killed 729 people as of Sunday, including about 60 percent of people who had come down with the infection, according to the World Health Organization.
There is no cure for the Ebola virus disease. Treatments are limited to such basics as keeping a patient hydrated. The virus can incubate for up to 21 days before symptoms appear. They include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, massive internal and external bleeding, and multiple organ failure.
But officials on Friday stressed that fears of an Ebola outbreak in the United States are unwarranted. A person infected with Ebola is not contagious until becoming sick. The virus spreads only through direct contact with bodily fluids. It is not an airborne contagion. There have been multiple outbreaks in Africa in the past, and they have all been contained through old-fashioned techniques of quarantining patients.
Source: Washington Post
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