At least 10 American aid workers in Sierra Leone are being sent back to the U.S. for possible Ebola exposure.
On Thursday, March 13, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement that some American healthcare workers in Sierra Leone may have been exposed to the Ebola virus. However, these workers have not tested positive for Ebola.
"Out of an abundance of caution, CDC and the State Department are developing contingency plans for returning those Americans with potential exposure to the U.S. by non-commercial air transport. Those individuals will voluntarily self-isolate and be under direct active monitoring for the 21-day incubation period," stated the CDC.
Kathy Harben, a CDC spokeswoman, also confirmed the report that some 10 American volunteers in Sierra Leone will return to the U.S. for monitoring.
The CDC suggests that all the suspected Ebola patients will remain near Ebola treatment facilities in the U.S. Any person who shows symptoms of the disease will be admitted to their nearest treatment center for immediate care.
The decision of the CDC comes after an American healthcare worker with Partners in Health tested positive for Ebola. The worker was transferred to the NIH Clinical Center Special Clinical Studies Unit, which is a high-level containment facility.
Medical experts are in agreement that even though there are no commercially available vaccines for treating Ebola, early treatment increases a patient's chances of surviving the disease.
The first Ebola case in the U.S. was confirmed in September 2014 in a man who had recently traveled to Liberia. The man did not survive the deadly disease. More Ebola cases were confirmed in the U.S. in later months but all patients survived.
Ebola cases have also been reported in some other countries such as Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, Spain and the U.K., but now these countries are believed to be Ebola free.
The latest Ebola outbreak started in February 2014 and has affected thousands of people in West Africa. The hardest hit Ebola nations are Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that the suspected, probable and confirmed cases of the disease in these three Western African countries have reached over 24,000. The death count for Ebola in these three nations has topped 10,000.
Healthcare agencies across the world are trying hard to combat the disease and develop a vaccine that can effectively treat the disease.
Photo: CDC Global | Flickr