Ebola patient receives treatment in Omaha

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September 8th, 2014

Omaha, NE — Doctors at The Nebraska Medical Center are treating a patient with the Ebola virus.

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Dr. Rick Sacra, a missionary for SIM USA, arrived in Omaha Friday morning from Liberia.

Dr. Mark Rupp, professor and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine at UNMC, described Sacra as sick but stable.

“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. Folks come down with a constellation of symptoms consisting of fevers, headaches, nausea, vomiting, etc. We’ll be monitoring closely and supporting as aggressively as we can,” Rupp said.

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

“He wasn’t treating Ebola patients. We’re working with the CDC who’s on the ground in Monrovia. We’ve been cooperating with them over the last two months,” Johnson said. “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 UNMC, said that it is important to remember that 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.

Sacra is being treated at the med center’s biocontainment unit.

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,” Khan said.

The wife and son of Dr. Sacra have arrived in Omaha to be by his side during treatment. Debbie Sacra said her husband wants the focus to remain on the Ebola crisis in West Africa and not about his care at the medical center.

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