US medical worker exposed to Ebola overseas arrives in Omaha

OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) — An American health care worker who experienced high-risk exposure to the Ebola virus while working in Sierra Leone arrived at a Nebraska hospital Sunday for observation.

The patient landed in Omaha on Sunday afternoon. Paramedics wearing full-body protective gear drove the patient to the Nebraska Medical Center, which has a specialized bio-containment unit.

Dr. Phil Smith, who leads the unit, said the patient is neither ill nor contagious. He said the patient will be observed for any signs of Ebola throughout the virus’ 21-day incubation period, and that “all appropriate precautions” will be taken.

Hospital spokesman Taylor Wilson added that doctors and nurses are wearing full protective gear and taking the same precautions they did when treating patients with Ebola, even though this patient hasn’t tested positive.

The Omaha hospital treated three patients with Ebola last fall. Dr. Rick Sacra, who worked at a Liberian hospital, and freelance video journalist Ashoka Mukpo, who also worked in Liberia, both recovered from Ebola after being treated at the hospital. Dr. Martin Salia, who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone, was more seriously ill when he arrived in Nebraska and did not survive.

Doctors have said early treatment increases the chances of surviving the virus.

Few details have been released about the latest patient. Hospital officials said he or she would have to agree to disclose any information.

The World Health Organization estimates that roughly 8,000 people have died from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa that began about a year ago. The epidemic has been centered in the countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s