UPDATE 2-U.S. missionary with Ebola arrives at Nebraska hospital

Fri Sep 5, 2014 2:04pm EDT
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(Adds details from Nebraska press conference)

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO, Sept 5 (Reuters) - The third U.S. medical missionary to become infected with the Ebola virus was wheeled on a gurney into the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha for treatment after being flown there from West Africa, a spokeswoman for the medical center said on Friday.

Dr. Rick Sacra, a 51-year-old Boston physician, contracted Ebola while working at a hospital in Liberia on behalf of the North Carolina-based Christian group SIM USA. Sacra had worked in the obstetrics ward at the ELWA Hospital of SIM in Monrovia.

Sacra's plane landed at the Offutt Air Force Base and he was transported to the medical center in an ambulance escorted by state highway patrol, said Jenny Nowatzke, media relations coordinator with the medical center.

"The transfer went very, very smoothly," Dr. Mark Rupp, an infectious disease specialist at the hospital, told a news conference on Friday. "Our patient is sick but stable."

According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 2,000 people and infected more than 4,000 since the outbreak began in Guinea in March.

The virus kills about half of those who contract it. In the Nebraska facility, Sacra will have the advantage supportive treatments, such as IV fluids, that may help him fight off the infection.

He is being cared for in the hospital's Biocontainment Patient Care Unit, a special isolation unit at the hospital that was designed to treat patients with highly infectious diseases.   Continued...