Exposure to the Ebola virus by four American health care providers working in Sierra Leone makes them pay a visit to the Nebraska Medical Center for observation.
These health care workers will be placed in isolation on the med centre campus in an area segregated from other patients, students and staff members. Patients being treated for ebola at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD may have may have come into contact with the health care workers.
Nebraska Medicine and our partners in the Douglas County Health Department, supported by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services will be monitoring them in a joint effort.
"These people have been exposed to the virus but they aren't sick and aren't contagious," said Phil Smith, M.D., medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at Nebraska Medicine.
"In the unlikely instance that one of them does develop symptoms, we would take them to the Bio containment Unit immediately for evaluation and treatment. Because we have individuals to monitor simultaneously, the safest and most efficient way to do that is in a group setting," he added.
Until they become symptomatic, and are likely to be most contagious later in the course of the illness people who develop Ebola aren't infectious.
Dr. Smith continued, "The only method of catching it is to come into contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is infected. We are again ready to help out if called upon during this time of need."
"Nebraska is now a national epicenter for Ebola care and with that comes responsibility," said Dr. Joseph Acierno, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. "It's not surprising that people with a possible Ebola exposure would want to be near a biocontainment unit undergoing monitoring in a controlled and safe environment."
"We knew this situation could arise with such a great asset at Nebraska Medicine," said Dr. Adi Pour, director of the Douglas County Health Department. "My concern is to keep the community safe and this arrangement will ensure that."