Ebola-infected US doctor heading to Nebraska

Zee Media Bureau

Omaha: The US doctor infected with Ebola is being flown to a Nebraska hospital for treatment, doctors there have said. He got infected with the deadly disease while working in Liberia.

Dr Rick Sacra is expected to arrive at the hospital today, said the officials of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. His treatment will begin in the hospital’s 10-bed special isolation unit, the largest of four such units in the US.

Sacra has served with North Carolina-based charity SIM, and was receiving excellent care at a centre in Liberia, says its president Bruce Johnson. But the Nebraska facility provides advanced monitoring equipment and a wider availability of treatment options.

Earlier he was at the Boston area but later opted to head to Liberia after hearing that other two missionaries were sick.

Its unclear how Sacra got infected with the virus that's killed about 1,900, as he wasn't involved in the treatment of Ebola patients but delivered babies.

He is the third American doctor infected with Ebola. The first two Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol have recovered since being flown to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment.

Medical director of the Omaha unit, Dr Phil Smith, would not say what time or where Sacra would arrive, citing public safety and patient confidentiality concerns. Smith and several other doctors with the unit repeatedly said Sacra's transfer to Omaha posed no threat to the public, noting Ebola is transmitted through close contact with an infected person.

He said Sacra was in a stable condition in Liberia and was able to board the plane to the US under his own power, but added, "He has a long plane ride ahead of him."

Doctors in Omaha will focus on providing him basic care, Smith said, including keeping him hydrated and keeping his vital signs stable. Smith said a team of 35 doctors, nurses and other medical staffers will attend to Sacra.

The team is discussing experimental treatments, including using blood serum from a patient who has recovered from Ebola, Smith said.  

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