Ebola Patient Being Treated in Omaha

Ebola patient Dr. Rick Sacra arrives at the Nebraska Med Center in Omaha Friday morning for treatment. (Photo courtesy of Nebraska State Patrol)
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September 5, 2014 - 12:25pm

An American doctor infected with the Ebola virus arrived in Omaha for treatment this morning.


Dr. Mark Rupp of the Nebraska Med Center in Omaha said the patient, Dr. Rick Sacra, is "sick but stable.

"With supportive therapy, our patient has a good chance of survival," Rupp said. 

Rupp said it may take weeks for Sacra to recover.

“We know we’re in for the long haul. This might be a two or three week period of time that our patient goes through a convalescent period of time,"  Rupp said. "Folks come down with a constellation of symptoms consisting of fevers, headaches, nausea, vomiting…in the worse situations they begin to have…bleed from the GI tract…we’re not seeing that in our patient currently. We’ll be monitoring closely and supporting as aggressively as we can.”

Bruce Johnson, the president of SIM USA, said Sacra was actually working with obstetrics when he contracted the Ebola virus.

Ebola patient Dr. Rick Sacra arrives in Omaha Friday morning.  This photo was taken from the Nebraska State Patrol helicopter, which provided transport security along with the Omaha and Bellevue Police Departments. (Photo courtesy of Nebraska State Patrol)

“He wasn’t treating Ebola patients," Johnson said.  "We’re working with the CDC who’s on the ground in Monrovia. We’ve been cooperating with them over the last two months. For SIM we would actually like to know what is that contact point because when we know that contact point then we can inform others so that we can better understand the situation.”

Dr. Ali Khan, dean of the College of Public Health at the Med Center, said it is important to remember Ebola does not present a public health threat to the United States.

“This Ebola case at the University of Nebraska Medical Center really makes the point that Ebola and other global infections are local issues and not just global issues,” Khan said.

Doctors at UNMC were tight-lipped about Sacra’s present condition. 

“What I will share is that he is communicating with us,” said Rosanna Morris, a Med Center nurse.

Sacra is being treated at the hospital's bio-containment unit. 

"Our unit is specially designed for this type of patient. It's very safe for our health care providers and patients," Rupp said.  "Every measure is being done to take care of this patient with the safety of our health care workers in mind."

Dr. Khan promises transparency with the community in treating Dr. Sacra.

“We’re confident in our dedicated staff, we’ll be transparent in all of our actions with the community and we’re going to share the lessons we learn from this patient with the global community," Kahn said.

Sacra is the third American with the Ebola virus to return to the United States for treatment.  The Massachusetts doctor began experiencing symptoms recently from the virus while volunteering in Liberia.

Sacra's family is expected to arrive in Omaha this weekend. 

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