Published: Tue, January 01, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Possible Ebola exposure to arrive in Nebraska

Possible Ebola exposure to arrive in Nebraska

Nebraska Medicine treated three patients with Ebola during the epidemic that ravaged Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea from 2014 to 2016.

The American, the Nebraska release states, is not an official patient and is being taken privately to the medical center. He or she is not exhibiting symptoms, but the hemorrhagic fever can spread through direct contact and can incubate for up to three weeks before a person becomes symptomatic.

Nebraska Medicine officials said the individual in their care is not an official patient, and therefore, the hospital will not provide any updates on the person's status unless it deems necessary.

"This person may have been exposed to the virus but is not ill and is not contagious", said Ted Cieslak MD, an infectious diseases specialist with Nebraska Medicine. A spokesperson for the State Department, which arranged the doctor's travel, said the doctor was moved safely and securely. "Should any symptoms develop, the Nebraska Medicine/UNMC team is among the most qualified in the world to deal with them", Cieslak said.

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The patient - who has not been named due to privacy reasons - is being held in an area that is not accessible by the public or other patients.

More than 350 people have died in the Congo during the current Ebola crisis, although the World Health Organization says the outbreak doesn't pose an global threat. Consequently, no one from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the United States Agency for International Development - USAID - have been working in northeastern Congo, where the outbreak is taking place, since late August. Symptoms include fever, severe headache, diarrhea, and unexplained bleeding or bruising.

The monitoring will likely last up to two weeks.

The Nebraska Medical Center's Biocontainment Unit is one of only several nationwide that was built and equipped for the specific objective of housing and monitoring individual who suffered possible exposure to a deadly disease, according to Wilson. The deadly virus can infect a human in contact with monkeys, bats and other wildlife that make contact with a person's bodily fluids.

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