The Ebola virus outbreak in parts of Africa affected Americans working in that region and they are being brought back to the United States for treatment.
Dr. Angela Hewlett, infectious disease specialist at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, confirms the U-S State Department contacted them about their biocontainment unit. Hewlett says the Med Center’s biocontainment unit is one of four in the United States.
“We have been contacted and basically they were looking at our capabilities,” according to Hewlett. “Essentially, this is what we were set up to do, take care of patients with highly infectious diseases.”
She says they were just assessing their unit to see if they were capable of handling Ebola patients. She stresses none have been brought to Nebraska.
Hewlett says the biocontainment unit at the Nebraska Medical Center is the largest in the U-S with ten beds. It is equipped with many safety features including its own air handling system so microorganisms don’t spread beyond the patient’s room. The unit is staffed with 15 registered nurses, seven respiratory therapists and seven technicians who are specially trained to care for patients with contagious and deadly infectious conditions.
Hewlett says they can have the unit up and running in less than four hours if needed.