January 19, 2019

Ebola: American Who Had Been to Congo Monitored After Potential Exposure

31 December 2018, 04:58 | Silvia Roy

Doctor Reportedly Exposed to Ebola in Africa Brought to U.S. Hospital The Associated Press29 Dec 2018

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The physician, who is not identified for privacy reasons, was privately flown to Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday afternoon and transported to University of Nebraska Medical Center, officials with the medical center announced Saturday.

According to the hospital, the doctor was flown by private plane and then taken by auto.

"This person may have been exposed to the virus but is not ill and is not contagious", said Ted Cieslak, infectious diseases specialist with Nebraska Medicine and associate professor of epidemiology in the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health.

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The American was among hundreds of health-care personnel who have been responding to a growing Ebola outbreak in Congo, the second largest in history, with almost 600 cases and 360 deaths.

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rare, deadly disease that can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal or a sick or dead person infected with the disease, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But humanitarian efforts have been frustrated by violence at the epicenter of the outbreak, which has devolved into an active war zone.

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The Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo is the second worst ever and has killed 356 of the 585 people infected since it began six months ago. Spokesman Taylor Wilson says the person arrived Saturday afternoon. "We are not aware of any other United States citizens with potential exposures to Ebola at this time, and there is no health risk to the USA public due to this evacuation", says the CDC. Monitoring could last up to two weeks, hospital officials said.

Ebola can incubate for three weeks before symptoms emerge.

The public will be notified if the person is required to be transferred to the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, however, until then, no further updates will be provided during the monitoring period. Nebraska Medical Center is home to one of the nation's few dedicated biocontainment units.

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Nebraska Medicine cared for three patients with the virus in 2014 and monitored several others for exposure during a 2013-16 outbreak in West Africa that was the worst on record, with more than 28,000 cases confirmed. Early symptoms include headache, fever, chills and muscle pain.

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