Dr. Kent Brantly, one of two American aid workers in Liberia, who contracted Ebola, is being treated at Emory University Hospital. He arrived there on Saturday.
The Hospital will be using a special isolation unit that was built previously in collaboration with the CDC. It is physically separate from other patient areas and, according to the Hospital, is one of only four such facilities in the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning to avoid nonessential travel to the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. This Level 3 travel warning is a reflection of the worsening Ebola outbreak in this region.
“This is the biggest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history. Far too many lives have been lost already,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “It will take many months, and it won’t be easy, but Ebola can be stopped. We know what needs to be done. CDC is surging our response, sending 50 additional disease control experts to the region in the next 30 days.”
The Ebola virus spreads when people come into direct contact with bodily fluids, such as saliva, blood, diarrhea and vomit. Early symptoms, as per the CDC, include: sudden fever, chills, and muscle aches. A skin rash can occur around the fifth day of the illness, followed then by nausea, vomiting, chest pain, sore throat, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. The symptoms will then become more severe and may also include jaundice, severe weight loss, mental confusion, bleeding inside and outside the body, shock, and multi-organ failure.
In addition to warning travelers to avoid going to the region, CDC is also assisting with active screening and education efforts on the ground in West Africa to prevent sick travelers from getting on planes. Last week, CDC also issued a Health Alert Notice reminding US healthcare workers of the importance of taking steps to prevent the spread of this virus, how to test and isolate suspected patients and how they can protect themselves from infection.
Dr. Brantly, 33, completed his residency at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. According to NPR, he traveled to West Africa with his wife and two children to work with the Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse. He was there when the Ebola outbreak began. Dr. Brantly was serving as the medical director in Monrovia, Liberia for the Samaritan’s Purse Ebola Consolidated Case Management Center when he recognized that he himself was experiencing symptoms of the virus.
Nancy Writebol, another American missionary, also contracted Ebola in Liberia, according to Samaritan’s Purse. A statement from Emory University Hospital states she will be transferred there this week.
As of 27 July, there were 1323 cases in this outbreak, with 729 of them resulting in death, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The first recorded outbreak of Ebola occurred in 1976, according to WHO. There were two simultaneous outbreaks and one was in a village near the Ebola River in the Congo.