Ebola strikes US health worker; deaths top 10,000

Another American health worker has been infected with Ebola in West Africa's outbreak region, US officials announced today, as deaths in the three affected countries passed the 10,000 mark.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) said its clinical center in Bethesda, Md., expects to admit tomorrow an American healthcare worker who was sickened while volunteering in a treatment center in Sierra Leone.

The NIH said the patient will be evacuated to the United States in isolation in a chartered aircraft. It said it would share no other details about the patient at this time.

The eighth American health worker to contract Ebola while working in West Africa's outbreak region, the patient will be the second one treated at the NIH Clinical Center's Special Clinical Studies Unit. The first was Nina Pham, the first of two Dallas nurses who were infected while caring for Thomas Erik Duncan, a Liberian who had the country's first travel-linked case and who died from his illness.

Seven American health workers were airlifted from the region for Ebola treatment, and one got sick after returning from West Africa. Two other people have been airlifted to the United States for treatment: an NBC News cameraman, who recovered from his illness, and a Sierra Leonean doctor who was a legal US resident and died from his infection.

Sick British nurse evacuated to the UK

The news of the infected American comes one day after an announcement that another British health worker was infected, also in Sierra Leone, bringing that country's total to three.

The United Kingdom's government today said a military health worker sickened with Ebola in Sierra Leone has now been evacuated from the outbreak region. Public Health England (PHE) said the woman was flown in a specially equipped military plane and will be treated in the isolation unit at Royal Free Hospital in London.

Tracing of the worker's contacts revealed four other military health workers who need further assessment, two of whom flew home on the same flight and will be assessed at the same hospital.

PHE said assessment of the other two workers in Sierra Leone triggered a decision to bring them back to the UK for more follow-up; they will be taken to Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. It added that none of the four contacts have been found to have Ebola infections.

The British woman's infection was first announced yesterday, following a WHO announcement that the UK was free of Ebola.

Ebola deaths pass 10,000

Meanwhile, the number of Ebola deaths in the three hard-hit West African countries passed 10,000 today, reaching 10,004, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest update. It put the overall total of confirmed, probable, and suspected cases at 24,350.

Though Sierra Leone has the most infections, with 11,677, Liberia still has the most deaths (4,162), most of which occurred before the country's illness activity started a steep decline in January. Today's totals reflect data reported from Guinea and Sierra Leone as of Mar 10 and from Liberia as of Mar 5.

See also:

Mar 12 NIH statement

Mar 12 WHO update

Mar 12 PHE statement

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