U.S. missionary with Ebola arrives in Nebraska for treatment

by Reuters
Friday, 5 September 2014 13:23 GMT

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Sept 5 (Reuters) - A U.S. medical missionary infected with the Ebola virus entered on Friday morning the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha for treatment after being flown in from West Africa, a spokeswoman for the medical center said.

Dr. Rick Sacra, a 51-year-old Boston physician, is the third U.S. missionary doing health work with the SIM USA Christian group in Liberia infected with the deadly virus.

Sacra's plane landed at the Offutt Air Force Base and he was transported to the medical center in an ambulance escorted by state highway patrol, said Jenny Nowatzke, media relations coordinator with the medical center.

Sacra walked onto the airplane in Liberia on Thursday. He will be treated at the Nebraska hospital's Biocontainment Patient Care Unit.

The virus has killed 1,900 people out of 3,500 cases in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal since March, in the worst outbreak since Ebola was first uncovered in 1976. The pace of the epidemic has accelerated with close to 400 deaths in the past week.

Two other SIM USA missionaries infected with ebola, Nancy Writebol and Kent Brantly, were also flown back to the U.S. for treatment.

The Nebraska facility where Sacra is being treated is similar to the one at Emory University in Atlanta where Writebol and Brantly were treated and recovered. Writebol and Brantly received an experimental treatment, ZMapp, that has been available for only a few patients, but it is not clear whether it aided their recovery.

There are no more doses of the experimental drug - made by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc - for Sacra, the director of the biocontainment unit in Omaha told reporters on Thursday.

Sacra had volunteered to return to Liberia when Writebol and Brantly became infected.

It is not known how he contracted the virus because he was not been caring for Ebola patients but was delivering babies, and had been following protocols to prevent the spread of the disease, SIM USA said. (Reporting by Fiona Ortiz)

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