An American health care worker who experienced a high-risk exposure to the Ebola virus has arrived in Nebraska.
Extra precautions were taken to transport the worker from Sierra Leone to the Biocantainment Unit in Omaha. First, the worker was flown via air ambulance from Africa to the United States. Then, a special ambulance transported the worker to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
Nebraska Medicine spokesman Taylor Wilson says it is not known yet whether the worker contracted the disease.
“The patient will be observed within our Biocontainment Unit and then if it is determined that the patient does have the Ebola virus, he or she will receive the appropriate treatment as with our previous patients,” Wilson tells reporters.
No identification has been released about the worker, even whether the worker is a man or woman.
The worker will be under observation for the 21-day incubation period for Ebola.
“The crew inside the Biocontainment Unit is treating this patient as if he or she does have the virus just out of an abundance of caution,” according to Wilson.
Wilson says there is a reason to treat the worker as if sick.
“It’s much more fortunate if this patient does develop Ebola that he or she is here already. Getting these patients the appropriate treatment as soon as possible makes a world of difference.”
Nebraska Medicine released little about the worker except to report the worker has “experienced a high-risk exposure to the Ebola virus.”
The same team that has cared for other Ebola patients in Omaha will care for this patient.
The Biocontainment Unit has treated three Ebola patients.
Dr. Richard Sacra was released from treatment in September. Sacra, who is from Massachusetts, has stated he will return to Liberia where he contracted the disease to work at a medical mission where he has served for more than 20 years.
Ashoka Mukpo, a cameraman for NBC Network, was released in October after treatment at Nebraska Medicine.
Dr. Martin Salia died less than two days after arriving at Nebraska Medicine. Medical officials report Salia came to Omaha gravely ill and the disease had progressed too far to save him.
Tom Stanton, KFAB, contributed to this report.