Ebola: American Who Had Been to Congo Monitored After Potential Exposure

An American has been flown to the University of Nebraska Medical Center to be monitored after possible exposure to the virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo,

"An American providing media assistance in the Democratic Republic of Congo recently experienced a possible exposure to the Ebola virus and is in Omaha for monitoring," a statement, released by Nebraska Medicine on Saturday, read. "This person has no Ebola symptoms but will be monitored closely. Should any symptoms develop, the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit would be activated and the person admitted."

Ted Cieslak MD, an infectious diseases specialist with Nebraska Medicine, revealed that the person is not ill and is not contagious despite possible exposure. "Should any symptoms develop, the Nebraska Medicine/UNMC team is among the most qualified in the world to deal with them," he said in the press release.

An American providing medical assistance overseas during an Ebola outbreak will soon be monitored at Nebraska Medical Center after a possible exposure in the Democratic Republic of Congo. More information is available on our website: https://t.co/g9DKLoeJ5n

— Nebraska Medicine (@NebraskaMed) December 29, 2018

The patient — who has not been named due to privacy reasons — is being held in an area that is not accessible by the public or other patients. The quarantine could last up to two weeks.

The public will be notified if the person is required to be transferred to the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, however, until then, no further updates will be provided during the monitoring period.

In 2014, Nebraska Medicine treated three patients who had contracted the virus and monitored others exposed to Ebola the following year — none developed the disease. The Nebraska Medical Center has one of the nation's few dedicated biocontainment units.

Ebola — also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever — is a rare and deadly virus that can be spread through human contact with bodily fluids and causes severe bleeding and organ failure. Early symptoms include headache, fever, chills and muscle pain.

After the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Africa, experts on the deadly disease from Nebraska Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center have "taken a leading role in training other health care workers across the U.S. and around the world in dealing with infectious diseases," according to the press release.

Dr. Martin Salia, a surgeon infected with the Ebola virus while working in Sierra Leone, arrives at the Nebraska Medical Center on November 15, 2014 in Omaha, Nebraska. On Saturday, another U.S. citizen was flown to the University of Nebraska Medical Center after being potentially exposed to Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Getty/Eric Francis