Ebola is being brought back to the United States via plane from Africa. Patients Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol are said to be in grave but stable condition. They are being transported back on a special plane equipped for the transport of patients with infectious diseases. It is said that they will be transported individually, and hospitals in the region have been put on high alert.
Sources say that one of the patients will be transported to Emory University Hospital. This facility is a one of its kind in the area housing a contaminant unit. Officials in Atlanta are not sure when the patient is set to arrive.
This Ebola outbreak alone has killed almost as many people as the virus has since it first began back in 1976.
Officials have also released a statement saying; "Emory University Hospital has a specially built isolation unit set up in collaboration with the CDC to treat patients who are exposed to certain serious infectious diseases," hospital officials said. "It is physically separate from other patient areas and has unique equipment and infrastructure that provide an extraordinarily high level of clinical isolation. It is one of only four such facilities in the country."
"Emory University Hospital physicians, nurses and staff are highly trained in the specific and unique protocols and procedures necessary to treat and care for this type of patient. For this specially trained staff, these procedures are practiced on a regular basis throughout the year so we are fully prepared for this type of situation."
Patrick Sawyer almost became patient zero, and we can only hope as a nation that neither of the two being brought back today will take his place. While it is very unfortunate, and probably a very scary event for them and their families, putting the rest of the nation at risk by transporting them back to the States has a lot of people upset, confused and scared to say the very least.
Mr. Sawyer reminded us of how easy it is to board an international flight with an infectious disease.
Another concern is that Ebola has anywhere from a 2 to 21 day incubation period. The CDC has announced that the virus is only contagious once symptoms begin. This is a highly infectious disease, and Mr. Sawyer was experiencing symptoms on that flight. It was a three-hour flight, and its passengers would be making connecting flights going in different directions upon arrival at the airport. There is no way to know how many people Mr. Sawyer came into contact with or if any of them have been infected with the Ebola virus.
In Liberia overnight an American doctor who is being treated for the disease has taken a turn for the worse. There is an experimental serum being used to treat the virus, and it was shipped to treat the two Americans that are infected with it. Unfortunately, there was only enough for one person. Dr. Kent Brantly, who quarantined himself after experiencing symptoms one week ago, selflessly offered the dose to Nancy Writebol.
A young man who survived the Ebola virus under the care of Dr. Brantley gave him a unit of blood. Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham, said; "The young boy and his family wanted to be able to help the doctor that saved his life.”
Americans have been warned for some time about traveling to these West African communities. Earlier this week a level to travel alert was issued. Overnight that travel alert was raised to a level III; the highest possible level.
Nonessential travel to the West African nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea should be avoided altogether.
It is still believed that some people who have contracted the virus are not coming forward. This is greatly concerning as it hinders the prevention of spreading the virus to others. Emergency management systems are in place, but if we don't know who these victims are they cannot be isolated them from others.
Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden, stated that; "The bottom line is Ebola is worsening in West Africa," said who announced the travel warning. He went on to say that "Ebola is a tragic, dreadful and merciless virus."
The media is doing everything they can to prevent panic. Many are saying that this will pose no public threat, while it is obvious that it is very much a threat. In a nutshell, no one knows exactly how this virus will act if it touches ground in a densely or overpopulated area of the US.
As a nation all we can do is hope that it stays contained to the isolation rooms and that the patients do recover. In the meantime the outbreak is not considered over until two 21 day incubation periods have passed without incidence.