Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Ebola | United States | Africa | exposure

More People Exposed to Ebola Flown to US Hospitals

By    |   Wednesday, 10 September 2014 05:45 PM

More people than the four reported cases of Ebola infection have been transported to the U.S. hospitals from West Africa, according to a private transport company.

While the State Department confirms that only four infected individuals have been flown to the United States, Dent Thompson, vice president of Georgia-based Phoenix Air Group, contracted by the State Department to bring Ebola patients to the United States, told Yahoo News, "We moved a lot of people who've been exposed to the Ebola virus."

Thompson refused to say just how many patients have been transported, or where they have been taken, commenting that his State Department contract forbids him from providing the information.

"I'm not avoiding it," he told Yahoo News, "I'm just not allowed to talk about it."

Phoenix flies modified Gulfstream III jets, which Thompson called "literally intensive-care units with wings" that transport patients in isolation chambers for the 12-14 hours they are flying. The company has flown 10 Ebola missions in the past six weeks, though all may not have involved patient transport.

Thompson stressed, "Many times, these people are just fine. They just had an exposure, but you have to treat it as though the disease is present."

The State Department has confirmed that Dr. Kent Brantly, missionary Nancy Writebol, Dr. Rick Sacra, and an unnamed U.S. doctor have been flown back to the United States for experimental drug treatment, with Brantly and Writebol successfully treated and released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, and Sacra being treated and apparently improving at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

The outbreak of the highly contagious virus is considered the deadliest Ebola epidemic in history, with over 2,300 dead, 4,200 confirmed or suspected cases and the World Health Organization (WHO) stating that new cases soon could top 20,000, according to Breitbart News.

The numbers being reported, however, are considered unreliable and could be much higher. The virus is spreading nearly unchecked throughout 15 countries, including Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal, according to CNN, which quoted the WHO as saying, "The number of new cases is increasing exponentially," and called it a "dire emergency with unprecedented dimensions of human suffering."

The virus causes hemorrhagic fever and is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids from an infected person.

Thompson told Yahoo News, "There will be a certain number of people who, through no fault of their own, will have an exposure event, and they are immediately identified and immediately extracted."

The United States has sent $100 million to help battle the virus, plans an additional $10 million, and USAID has announced that it will provide another $75 million, CNN reports.

President Barack Obama has termed the outbreak a "serious danger" to the United States and indicated that he wants to send U.S. military to protect aid workers and assist, The Washington Post reports.

The disease has overwhelmed medical facilities in the affected countries, and USAID has provided 130,000 hazmat suits, 50,000 hygiene kits, and 1,000 new beds.

A State Department official told Yahoo, "every precaution is taken to move the patient safely and securely, to provide critical care en route and to maintain strict isolation upon arrival in the U.S."

"You can never, ever let your safety guards down," Thompson told Yahoo.

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More people than the four reported cases of Ebola infection have been transported to the U.S. hospitals from West Africa, according to a private transport company.
Ebola, United States, Africa, exposure
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 05:45 PM
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