Hospital will release patients treated for Ebola as virus scares continue

Atlanta's Emory University Hospital will discharge two American aid workers treated for the Ebola virus today, USA Today reports.

One of the patients, Kent Brantly, M.D., will join Bruce Ribner, M.D., medical director of the hospital's infectious disease unit, and make a statement about the decision to release Brantly and Nancy Writebol. Hospital CEO Bob Bachman said last week that the hospital "felt a moral obligation to do the right thing" and treat the patients, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Meanwhile, there were 68 Ebola scares in American hospitals and state labs across 27 states in the last three weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told ABC News.

Of these cases, 58 were false alarms, the CDC told ABC, with the remaining 10 sent for further testing. Of these 10, seven came back negative with results still pending for the remaining three, according to the article. However, the outbreak on the African continent may be far more severe than official estimates, according to National Public Radio.

The Ebola outbreak--declared an international emergency earlier this month--now totals 2,127 cases and 1,145 deaths in four countries, and is the worst outbreak ever recorded, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers confirmed 152 new cases last week.

"At a bare minimum, I would guess they're probably off by 20 percent," Joseph Fair, who acted as a special adviser to Sierra Leone's health minister, told NPR.

Although the CDC scrutinizes potential patients based on symptoms and travel history, it has to narrow them down, according to spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund. "If somebody had traveled to Guinea and came back and had a fever and has never been to a place where Ebola is transmitted, there's no reason to suspect there's Ebola just because Ebola is circulating in Guinea," she told ABC News.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discussed the decision to give the two aid workers an experimental treatment never before used in humans. Using an emergency investigational new drug application, "we can allow the use of an investigational product outside of a clinical trial being conducted to develop the product toward approval, in order to treat a patient with a serious or immediately life-threatening disease when the patient has no comparable or satisfactory alternative treatment option," Luciana Borio of the FDA's Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats told Medscape.

Despite the very low chances the virus, also known as EVD, will surface in Boston, the city's Public Health Commission (BPHC) described contingency plans in place for such an event in a media briefing Wednesday, according to Boston.com. "We want a well-coordinated plan in place in the event a case of EVD is found in the city," said BPHC Executive Director Barbara Ferrer.

To learn more:
- here's the ABC article
- read the NPR article
- check out the USA Today article
- read the Medscape article
- here's the Boston.com article

 

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