The Ebola virus is heading to America.
According to TIME, Emory Hopital in Atlanta will be receiving a patient fighting the Ebola virus any day now. The hospital is not sure if it is one of the two Americans, Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly , who contracted the virus in Liberia.
“Emory University Hospital has a specially built isolation unit set up in collaboration with the CDC [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] to treat patients who are exposed to certain serious infectious diseases,” the hospital said in the statement. “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.”
The virus can spread through bodily fluids, putting health care workers treating the patients at risk. The doctors and nurses at Emory will be wearing full protection.
Meanwhile American health officials have advised against nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the disease has taken 729 lives this year. Up until now, the CDC has only advised travelers to take precaution going into West Africa. This is the first time the CDC has issued a high-level warning since the SARS outbreak in Asia in 2003, TIME reports.
The CDC director, Dr. Thomas Frieden, stated during a call with the press, “It is frankly a dreadful and merciless virus. The current outbreak is bad. It’s the biggest, most complex and the first time it’s been present in this region of the world which means that response systems and community understanding of the disease is not what it is elsewhere.”
Any organization that is willing to airlift the infected will have to use extreme caution. There is no effective vaccine or treatment for the virus. “There is no proven vaccine. There is not likely to be one for at least a year, even in the best case scenario,” Frieden said.
“There is the potential that the actual movement of the patient could do more harm than the benefit from more advanced supportive care outside of the country.”
Emory Hospital’s staff says they are equipped and ready to handle any patient it does receive. The physicians and nurses have been specifically trained on a situation 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,” reports TIME.
Some have recovered from Ebola, but the mortality rate for people infected ranges from 50% to 90%. Experts estimate that about 60% of the people infected with the virus during this particular outbreak have died.
If you know of anyway to help send cleaning supplies or safety supplies to the West African countries where the virus is active, please let us know to spread the word.
image via CDC