The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating whether individuals in Sierra Leone, including some U.S. citizens, may have been exposed to an American healthcare worker diagnosed with the Ebola virus.
The healthcare worker was flown to the U.S. and admitted early Friday to the National Institutes of Health's Special Clinical Studies Unit, a high-level biocontainment facility on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md. He was in serious condition as of 12 p.m. EDT Friday, and is the second patient to be treated at the NIH for a confirmed case of Ebola.
One U.S. citizen with potential exposure to the patient is being transported via charter aircraft to the Atlanta area to be close to Emory University Hospital. The individual has not shown any signs of the virus, but will voluntarily self-isolate and be under direct active-monitoring for the 21-day incubation period upon arrival in Atlanta.
An Emory Healthcare spokeswoman said the university was aware of the situation but declined to comment further. Four individuals have been treated for Ebola at the hospital's biocontainment unit since the epidemic began.
Other volunteers who may have been exposed to the patient are being monitored for possible signs of Ebola, but none have tested positive. The CDC is looking into who the patient may have come into contact with and preparing to possibly transport Americans back to the U.S. who may have come into contact with patient.
Contingency plans being developed by the CDC and the U.S. State Department would call for American volunteers with potential exposure to the patient to be flown to the U.S. by noncommercial air transport. They would then voluntarily self-isolate and be under direct active-monitoring by public health officials.
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