Missionary infected with Ebola heading to US

2014-09-05 08:33
An Ebola virus. (CDC, AP)

An Ebola virus. (CDC, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Omaha - A missionary who was infected with Ebola while serving in Liberia is being flown to a US hospital for treatment, doctors said Thursday.

Officials at the Nebraska Medical Centre in Omaha said Dr Rick Sacra, 51, is expected to arrive sometime on Friday.

Sacra will begin treatment in the hospital's special isolation unit, believed to be the largest in the US

Sacra served with North Carolina-based charity SIM. Its president, Bruce Johnson, said Sacra was receiving excellent care at a centre in Liberia, but that the Nebraska facility provides advanced monitoring equipment and a wider availability of treatment options.

Sacra, who's from the Boston area, opted to head to Liberia after hearing that two other missionaries were sick. He was infected by the virus that has killed about 1 900 people. He's the third American aid worker infected by the Ebola.

The first two — Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol — have recovered since being flown to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment.

Possible treatments

Dr Phil Smith, medical director of the Omaha unit, would not say what time or where Sacra would arrive, citing public safety and patient confidentiality concerns.

 Smith and several other doctors who head the team for the biocontainment unit repeatedly said Sacra's transfer to Omaha posed no threat to the public, noting Ebola is transmitted through close contact with an infected person.

He said Sacra was in stable condition in Liberia and was able to board the plane to the US under his own power, but added, "He has a long plane ride ahead of him."

Doctors in Omaha will focus on providing him basic care, Smith said, including keeping him hydrated and keeping his vital signs stable. Smith said a team of 35 doctors, nurses and other medical staffers will attend to Sacra.

The team is discussing experimental treatments, including using blood serum from a patient who has recovered from Ebola, Smith said.

"We've been trying to collect as much information on possible treatments as we can," Smith said.

No licensed drugs

There are no licensed drugs or vaccines for the disease, but about a half dozen are in development. None has been tested in humans, but an early trial of one vaccine began this week in the United States.

Much attention has focused on the unproven drug ZMapp, which was given to seven patients, two of whom died. But the limited supply is now exhausted and its developer says it will take months to make even a modest amount.

Sacra's wife, Debbie, said in a news conference at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre in Worcester that her husband was in good spirits as he boarded the plane on Thursday. She said the couple had known there was a risk of him getting infected with Ebola when he left for Liberia in August.

"I knew he needed to be with the Liberian people," she said. "He was so concerned about the children that were going to die from malaria without hospitalisation and the women who had no place to go to deliver their babies by caesarean section. He's not someone who can stand back if there's a need he can take care of."

Read more on:    us  |  liberia  |  ebola  |  health  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.