Emory University Hospital to treat Ebola patient

An American who contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia will be transferred to the United States and treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta in the coming days.

The hospital, which is near the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has an isolation unit built in collaboration with the CDC that is set up to treat patients who have serious infectious diseases, according to an 11Alive News report.

Emory University Hospital's isolation unit, one of just four of its kind in the nation, has negative pressure air handling safeguards, according to 11Alive News, and the air is filtered before being exhausted outside of the facility so it doesn't put others at risk.

The Ebola-infected patient will travel in a special medical plane, which departed from Georgia on Thursday, according to CNN.

The name of the patient being transferred has not been released, but two American aid workers have contracted the virus, according to a Reuters report. They are Kent Brantly, MD, and Nancy Writebol, who were in Liberia with a Christian relief group.

The CDC is working with the State Department on the patient transfer even as the agency issued a Level 3 travel warning, urging people to avoid nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone due to the massive Ebola outbreak in those countries. As of July 27, 729 people have died from the Ebola virus disease in those three countries since the outbreak started in March.

In addition to assisting with the patient transfer, the CDC is taking several other steps to assist with the outbreak and prevent it from coming to the U.S. For instance, the agency is helping screen passengers to prevent sick travelers from getting on planes. If a sick passenger does get on a plane — which the CDC says there is a "remote chance" of occurring — the agency has protocols in place, including quarantine and guidance for airlines for managing sick passengers.

Ebola is often fatal and spreads through direct contact with an infected person's blood or body fluid. A person infected with the Ebola virus is not contagious until symptoms appear, according to the CDC. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, sore throat and weakness as well as diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain.

More articles on infection control:
Carolinas Medical Center isolates patient who recently went to Africa
Can flashing lights increase hand hygiene compliance?
Patient safety tool: Qualis Health's online toolkit for engaging patients in infection control

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