An American doctor who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus has been transported from the Democratic Republic of Congo to a Nebraska medical center. According to a release from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health, the person, who has not been identified, was sent to the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha for monitoring. The Nebraska Medical Center houses one of the nation’s few dedicated biocontainment units.
The doctor had been providing medical assistance at a missionary hospital in the central African country. They treated a severely ill patient who subsequently tested positive for Ebola, which can spread through direct contact. One day after the positive test, the physician received the experimental Ebola vaccine as a post-exposure preventive measure.
According to a statement from the medical center, the doctor was transported to the facility by private plane and car and is being monitored in a secure area that is not accessible to the public or any patients. The health officials say that they doctor has not yet shown any symptoms. Should any symptoms develop, the medical center will activate the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit. Monitoring could take as long as two weeks, the statement says.
This isn’t the first time patients exposed to Ebola were treated at the Nebraska Medical Center. Three patients with Ebola were treated there during the 2014 outbreak, which killed more than 11,000 people in the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded. Several others were monitored at the facility for possible exposure in 2015.
The Ebola outbreak currently raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the second largest on record. There have been 543 confirmed cases and 309 confirmed deaths related to the virus in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. Another 48 probable cases are being investigated. The World Health Organization has determined the outbreak does not pose a major international threat.