An American doctor who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus while providing medical assistance in the Democratic Republic of Congo is being monitored at a facility in Omaha.
The physician, who is not being identified, was transported privately to at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health and was housed in an area off limits to the public, the medical center said.
Monitoring could last up to 14 days.
The doctor “is not ill and is not contagious,” said Ted Cieslak, M.D., 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.”
No further updates will be given on the person’s health status during the monitoring period, the hospital said in a statement.
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The Nebraska facility treated three patients with Ebola in 2014. The following year, several others were monitored after exposures.
Ebola, first identified in 1976 in Congo, jumps to humans from animals like bats and monkeys, spreading through contact with the bodily fluids of those infected.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is experiencing a massive outbreak of the Ebola virus, which began in August and has killed more than 300 people so far. There have been 543 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization, and another 48 probable cases.
The health organization said that violent political protests in Congo are interfering with efforts to carry out Ebola vaccinations. The Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (OXFAM), a global organization that works to end poverty, suspended its work in Ebola-ravaged areas of the Congo.
Raphael Mbuyi, OXFAM’s acting country director said, “This could mean Ebola spreading to even more people and potentially other countries in the region, putting many more lives at risk.”
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