International

U.S. plan to fly in Ebola patients sparks fears

The airwaves were filled with messages of fear this week after U.S. authorities announced that a medical charter airplane had departed for West Africa on Thursday to bring home two American missionaries infected with the lethal Ebola haemorrhagic fever, for treatment at an isolation ward in Atlanta’s Emory University.

If the two patients, Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol of faith-based charity Samaritan's Purse, return home in the isolative “aeromedical biological containment system,” aboard the Gulfstream jet, it would mark the first instance of an individual known to be infected with Ebola crossing into U.S. territory.

While there is no cure for the disease doctors will likely hope to provide palliative care to the patients, whose conditions were said to be worsening, as their immune systems fight the disease. The treatment success rate in the current outbreak was said to be approximately 45 per cent.

Dr. Brantly, was said to have been offered an experimental serum Wednesday but because only one dose was provided, he reportedly asked that it be given to Ms. Writebol. However Dr. Brantly received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy who had survived Ebola because of Dr. Brantly’s care, reports added.

This week’s outcry comes after nearly five months since the disease outbreak was reported in the West Africa region, and Doctors Without Borders have counted more than 1,300 known cases and 729 fatalities in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.

Fears about the risk of contagion were heightened after news emerged that a doctor on the frontlines of fighting the outbreak in Sierra Leone, Sheik Humarr Khan, died from complications of the disease earlier this week.

The World Health Organisation also underscored the seriousness of the conditions in West Africa as it prepared to announce, along with leaders of the affected West African nations, a new $100m response plan.

WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan said, “The scale of the Ebola outbreak, and the persistent threat it poses, requires [us] to take the response to a new level, and this will require increased resources, in-country medical expertise, regional preparedness and coordination.”


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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 3:19:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-plan-to-fly-in-ebola-patients-sparks-fears/article6272878.ece

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