WASHINGTON: A nurse infected in Texas with Ebola arrived late Thursday (Friday in Manila) for treatment at the National Institutes of Health outside Washington, one of the nation’s premier medical facilities.
Nina Pham, 26, was transferred from a Texas hospital where she both worked and was a patient, to the facility in Bethesda, Maryland.
Pham wore a white protective suit as she stepped off the plane in Maryland. She was later sped by ambulance to the NIH several miles away.
Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a congressional hearing earlier Thursday that Pham would receive superlative care at NIH, one of just a few facilities equipped to provide comprehensive medical care for patients suffering from Ebola and other infectious agents.
“We will be supplying her with state-of-the-art care in our high-level containment facilities,” Fauci told lawmakers.
In a statement, the NIH said that the facility where Pham will be treated is “staffed by infectious diseases and critical care specialists… trained in strict infection control practices optimized to prevent spread of potentially transmissible agents such as Ebola.”
Pham, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, was closely involved in the care of a Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, who was the first Ebola case diagnosed in the United States.
Duncan died of Ebola at the Dallas, Texas hospital on October 8. A few days later, Pham was diagnosed with Ebola. Since then she has been in isolation at Texas Health, which said the decision to move her was made with officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pham’s colleague Amber Vinson was diagnosed with Ebola on Wednesday, and was immediately transported to another high-level biocontainment unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
Both worked as nurses in the intensive care unit. Duncan was admitted on September 28, but was not diagnosed with Ebola until September 30.
Around 70 health care workers from the hospital are under close watch for signs of infection. The virus’s incubation period is between two and 21 days.
Since health care workers are at particular risk of infection, US authorities have warned that more cases are possible.
The hemorrhagic virus is spreading quickly in West Africa, and has killed more than 4,400 people in the world’s largest outbreak to date.