Dr. Kent Brantly Arrives In U.S. For Treatment Of Ebola
By Dr. James Palermo // August 3, 2014
CDC: POSES LITTLE RISK TO U.S. GENERAL POPULATION
ABOVE VIDEO: CNN’s Chief Medical Corespondent, Sanjay Gupta, reports on the arrival in Atlanta of Dr. Kent Brantly, who while caring for Ebola victims in Liberia contracted the often fatal hemmorhagic fever. He and co-worker, Nancy Writebol, will be managed in a special isolation unit at Emory University Hospital.
Dr. Kent Brantly, one of two Americans who contracted the often-fatal viral hemorrhagic fever last month while caring for patients on the front lines of a major Ebola outbreak in West Africa, arrived in Atlanta via a specially equipped medivac plane and was transported directly to Emory University Hospital for admission to an isolation unit.
Brantly, who is believed to be the first patient infected with the deadly virus ever to be treated at a hospital in the United States, was seen via video exiting the ambulance wearing a white, full-body protective suit accompanied by a similarly clad attendant, both of whom walked into the hospital.
The fact that Brantly, age 33, was able to walk into the hospital under his own power is a good sign, and suggests that he has responded to the supportive care provided so far for the infection for which there is no vaccine and no FDA-approved treatment.
SPECIALLY EQUIPPED ISOLATION UNIT FOR EBOLA VICTIMS
Brantly and, eventually, Nancy Writebol, his fellow missionary, who was working with him at a hospital in Liberia that was treating patients suffering from Ebola and is expected to be transferred to Atlanta next week, will be treated in a specially equipped isolation unit by a team of infectious disease specialists who say they have a better chance to steer them to health while ensuring the virus doesn’t spread.
The special Emory isolation unit, one of only 4 such facilities in the country, was set up in collaboration with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to treat patients who are exposed to specific serious infectious diseases.
The unit 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.
CDC: NO SIGNIFICANT RISK TO THE U.S. PUBLIC
To allay public fears, notably expressed on social media, that the Ebola virus might get a U.S. foothold and spread widely, experts in infectious diseases, including the CDC director, Dr. Thomas Frieden, have stated that Ebola poses little risk to the U.S. general population.
Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person or through exposure to objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with infected secretions. It is not transmitted through the air like the flu, nor via food or water-borne contamination.
In an interview with reporters, Frieden said, “Ebola is spread as people get sicker and sicker. They have fever and may develop serious symptoms.” People who typically contract the virus are family members or, like Brantly and Writebol, healthcare workers in prolonged and close contact with victims.
So far, the outbreak is confined to West Africa. Although infections are dropping in Guinea, they are on the rise in Liberia and Sierra Leone, with The World Health Organization reporting that the outbreak is believed to have infected 1,323 people and killed more than 729 this year, as of July 27.
The CDC posts Ebola outbreak updates every 1 to 2 days. Below is the most recent update and Q & A posted on August 1.
The current Ebola outbreak is centered on three countries in West Africa: Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, although there is the potential for further spread to neighboring African countries. Ebola does not pose a significant risk to the U.S. public. The CDC is surging resources by sending 50 more workers to the area to help bring the outbreak under control.
What is Ebola?
Ebola virus is the cause of a viral hemorrhagic fever disease. Symptoms include: fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, and abnormal bleeding. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to ebola virus though 8-10 days is most common.
How is Ebola transmitted?
Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person or though exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions.
Can Ebola be transmitted through the air?
No. Ebola is not a respiratory disease like the flu, so it is not transmitted through the air.
Can I get Ebola from contaminated food or water?
No. Ebola is not a food-borne illness. It is not a water-borne illness.
Can I get Ebola from a person who is infected but doesn’t have any symptoms?
No. Individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious. In order for the virus to be transmitted, an individual would have to have direct contact with an individual who is experiencing symptoms.
Are there any cases of individuals contracting Ebola in the U.S.?
What is being done to prevent ill passengers in West Africa from getting on a plane?
CDC is assisting with active screening and education efforts on the ground in West Africa to prevent sick travelers from getting on planes. In addition, airports in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are screening all outbound passengers for Ebola symptoms, including fever, and passengers are required to respond to a healthcare questionnaire. CDC is also surging support in the region by deploying 50 additional workers to help build capacity on the ground.
What is CDC doing in the U.S.?
On the remote possibility that an ill passenger enters the U.S., CDC has protocols in place to protect against further spread of disease. These include notification to CDC of ill passengers on a plane before arrival, investigation of ill travelers, and, if necessary, isolation. CDC has also provided guidance to airlines for managing ill passengers and crew and for disinfecting aircraft. CDC has issued a Health Alert Notice reminding U.S. 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.
What about ill Americans with Ebola who are being brought to the U.S. for treatment? How is CDC protecting the American public?
CDC has very well-established protocols in place to ensure the safe transport and care of patients with infectious diseases back to the United States. These procedures cover the entire process — from patients leaving their bedside in a foreign country to their transport to an airport and boarding a non-commercial airplane equipped with a special transport isolation unit, to their arrival at a medical facility in the United States that is appropriately equipped and staffed to handle such cases. CDC’s role is to ensure that travel and hospitalization is done to minimize risk of spread of infection and to ensure that the American public is protected. Patients were evacuated in similar ways during SARS.
What does the CDC’s Travel Alert Level 3 mean to U.S. travelers?
On July 31, the CDC elevated their warning to U.S. citizens encouraging them to defer unnecessary travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone over concerns that travelers may not have access to health care facilities and personnel should they need them in country.