Emory University Hospital, which treated American Ebola patients Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, have received a third U.S. citizen from Sierra Leone who has tested positive for the Ebola virus. The patient, a male, has not been identified, and is the fourth American to return to U.S. soil for Ebola treatment.
CNN reports that the man arrived earlier today to the Atlanta medical facility, and entered the hospital walking with the apparent aid of another person. The United States has not divulged the identity of the patient or why the decision was made to fly him to Atlanta, citing confidentiality issues. CNN notes, however, that the World Health Organization stated Monday that one of their workers in Sierra Leone had contracted the virus but would not confirm whether this worker was, indeed, the patient flown to America.
USA Today confirms that the new patient will be treated in the same facility that Emory used to treat Brantly and Writebol. In addition to the three, a fourth medical worker, Dr. Rick Sacra of Massachusetts, is being treated at a facility in Nebraska designed for highly infectious diseases. Sacra is reportedly conscious and in stable condition. Doctors treating Sacra have discussed experimental treatments, including use of the blood of Ebola survivors, to cure currently ailing patients. While no such treatment has been confirmed, doctors noted that there was a slight chance they would be able to use the blood serum of Brantly or Writebol for an experimental cure.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has continued to spread, and public health organizations predict a surge in both documented cases of Ebola and deaths due to the virus in the next two weeks. The World Health Organization has reported that Ebola cases have topped 4,200 since the outbreak began in February, with a particularly large surge of cases in Liberia. Unlike Guinea and much of Sierra Leone, Liberia is fighting against the Ebola virus in the urban capital of Monrovia, where the Liberian government has had to impose a quarantine on highly-populated areas where large numbers of Ebola cases have been documented.
The current death toll of this Ebola outbreak stands at 2,288, according to the World Health Organization, with almost half of all deaths and 49% of cases being documented within the last 21 days. Ebola cases have surfaced in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, and, most recently, Senegal, with medical health professionals worrying that they may spread further in the coming weeks.