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US NIH Says Patient Being Monitored For Ebola In Critical Condition

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The U.S. National Institute of Health in Maryland has confirmed that the status of the Ebola patient admitted in its clinical facility has been changed from serious to critical.

Recently, an American health care volunteer from the nonprofit health-care organization Partners in Health (PIH) who was working in Sierra Leone tested positive for the Ebola virus. The individual was flown back to the U.S. in a noncommercial airplane.

The patient was admitted to the NIH Clinical Center Special Clinical Studies Unit, a high-level containment facility, for treatment. NIH physicians first evaluated the condition of the patient and determined that their condition was serious.

However, on Monday, March 16, the NIH changed the patient's status. "NIH physicians have changed the status of the patient with Ebola virus disease being treated at the NIH Clinical Center from serious to critical condition," per NIH.

A recent report suggested that 10 workers were also flown back to the U.S. as a precaution. The 10 volunteers will self-isolate for the 21-day incubation period. However, none of these suspected patients have tested positive for the deadly virus.

Four of these 10 suspected Ebola patients were moved to Nebraska Medicine for medical monitoring. On Sunday, March 15, one of these four patients developed symptoms of Ebola and was moved to the biocontainment facility of Nebraska Medicine. Doctors who treated the patient revealed that some of the symptoms were resolved and the patient has not tested positive for Ebola.

A fifth person also was moved to the biocontainment facility on Monday, March 16, for monitoring purposes.

Even though the latest Ebola outbreak started in Western Africa some cases were also found in the U.S., especially amongst people who had returned to the country after working in regions hit hard by the Ebola virus. The first Ebola case in the U.S. was reported in September 2014, when a person was admitted to the hospital complaining of flu-like symptoms. Later it was confirmed that the patient had Ebola. Unfortunately, he did not survive the disease and died. The man had traveled back to the U.S. from Liberia.

However, most patients in the U.S. have recovered from Ebola.

The latest Ebola crisis has affected thousands of people, especially in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The World Health Organization has confirmed that Ebola death toll in these three countries has already exceeded 10,000. There are as yet no licensed Ebola vaccines, but 2 potential vaccine candidates are undergoing evaluation. 

Photo: Army Medicine | Flickr

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