An American exposed to the Ebola virus while working in the Democratic Republic of Congo is being admitted to the University of Nebraska Medical Center for monitoring, hospital officials said Saturday.
The monitoring could last up to two weeks. If at any point the patient develops symptoms of the hemorrhagic fever, they will be transferred to the biocontainment unit, one of only a few in the country.
“This person may have been exposed to the virus but is not ill and is not contagious,” said Dr. Ted Cieslak, an infectious diseases specialist with Nebraska Medicine. “Should any symptoms develop, the Nebraska Medicine/UNMC team is among the most qualified in the world to deal with them.”
The person has not been identified and was exposed while providing “medical assistance” in Congo, where a major outbreak in the midst of a civil war is under way.
They are being transported privately to the medical center, where they will be under observation in a secure area not accessible to the public. The hospital treated three patients with Ebola in 2014 and monitored several others the following year.
According to the World Health Organization, as of this week, there were 543 confirmed and 48 probable cases of Ebola documented in Congo—54 of them health-care workers. Six out of 10 people infected with the virus have died, WHO reported.
Containing Ebola in Congo has been complicated by militia attacks. The U.S. said last month that it was not sending experts to the epicenter of the outbreak because of the violence.