Monday, October 27, 2014

Americans who contracted the Ebola virus while volunteering to fight the epidemic in West Africa

1. March 25, 2014 – The CDC issues its initial announcement on an outbreak in Guinea, and reports of cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone. “In Guinea, a total of 86 suspected cases, including 59 deaths (case fatality ratio: 68.5%), had been reported as of March 24, 2014. Preliminary results from the Pasteur Institute in Lyon, France suggest Zaire ebolavirus as the causative agent.”

2. April 16, 2014 – The New England Journal of Medicine publishes a report, speculating that the current outbreak’s Patient Zero was a two-year-old from Guinea. The child died on December 6, 2013, followed by his mother, sister and grandmother over the next month.

3. July 2014 – Patrick Sawyer, a top government official in the Liberian Ministry of Finance, dies at a local Nigerian hospital. He is the first American to die in what officials are calling “deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.”

4. July 2014 – Nancy Writebol, an American aid worker in Liberia, tests positive for Ebola. According to Samaritan’s Purse, Writebol is infected while treating Ebola patients in Liberia.

Dr. Kent Brantly attends patient in Liberia
5. July 26, 2014 – Kent Brantly, medical director for Samaritan Purse’s Ebola Consolidated Case Management Center in Liberia, is infected with the virus. According to Samaritan’s Purse, Brantly is infected while treating Ebola patients.

6. July 29, 2014 – According to Doctors Without Borders, Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan who was overseeing Ebola treatment at Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone dies from complications of the disease.

7. July 30, 2014 – The Peace Corps announces it is removing its volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

8. July 31, 2014 – CDC raises its warning to Level 3. It warns U.S. residents to avoid “nonessential travel” to Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

9. August 2, 2014 – A specially equipped medical plane carrying Ebola patient Dr. Kent Brantly lands at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia. He is then driven by ambulance to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

10. August 4, 2014 – CNN reports that three top secret, experimental vials of the drug, “ZMapp,” were flown into Liberia last week in a last-ditch effort to save Brantly and Writebol, according to a source familiar with details of the treatment. Doctors report “significant improvement.”

11. August 6, 2014 – Nancy Writebol arrives at Emory in Atlanta for treatment.

12. August 8, 2014 – Experts at the World Health Organization declare the Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa an international health emergency that requires a coordinated global approach, describing it as the worst outbreak in the four-decade history of tracking the disease.

13. August 19, 2014 – Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declares a nationwide curfew beginning August 20 and orders two communities to be completely quarantined, with no movement in or out of the areas.

14. August 21, 2014 – Dr. Kent Brantly is discharged from Emory University Hospital. It is also announced that Nancy Writebol had been released on Tuesday, August 19. The releases come after Emory staff are confident Brantly and Writebol pose “no public health threat.”

15. September 6, 2014 – The government of Sierra Leone announces plans for a nationwide lockdown from September 19-21, in order to stop the spread of Ebola. The lockdown is being billed as a predominantly social campaign rather than a medical one, in which volunteers will go door-to-door to talk to people.

16. September 16, 2014 – President Barack Obama calls the efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak centered in West Africa “the largest international response in the history of the CDC.” Speaking from the CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Obama adds that “faced with this outbreak, the world is looking to” the United States to lead international efforts to combat the virus. He says the United States is ready to take on that leadership role.

17. September 30, 2014 – Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, announces the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States. The person has been hospitalized and isolated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas, since September 28.

18. October 1, 2014 – Liberian government officials release the name of the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States: Thomas Eric Duncan.

19. October 6, 2014 – A nurse’s assistant in Spain becomes the first person known to have contracted Ebola outside Africa in the current outbreak. The woman helped treat two Spanish missionaries, both of whom had contracted Ebola in West Africa, one in Liberia and the other in Sierra Leone. Both died after returning to Spain. On October 19, Spain’s Special Ebola Committee says that nurse’s aide Teresa Romero Ramos is considered free of the Ebola virus.

20. October 6, 2014 – NBC freelance cameraman Ashoka Mukpo arrives at Nebraska Medical Center for treatment after contracting Ebola in Liberia. On October 21, the hospital says that Mukpo no longer has the Ebola virus in his bloodstream and will be allowed to leave.
Nina Pham
21. October 8, 2014 – Thomas Eric Duncan dies of Ebola in Dallas.

22. October 11, 2014 – Nina Pham, a Dallas nurse who cared for the now-deceased Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, tests positive for Ebola during a preliminary blood test. She is the first person to contract Ebola on American soil.

23. October 15, 2014 – Amber Vinson, a second Dallas nurse who also cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, is diagnosed with Ebola. Authorities say Vinson flew on a commercial jet from Cleveland to Dallas days before testing positive for Ebola.

24. October 20, 2014 – Under fire in the wake of Ebola cases
Amber Vinson
involving two Dallas nurses, the CDC issues updated Ebola guidelines that stress the importance of more training and supervision, and recommend that no skin be exposed when workers are wearing personal protective equipment, or PPE. (CNN News)
 

October 23, 2014—Dr. Craig Spencer of New York City was a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders and had just returned from West Africa where he worked with Ebola victims in Guinea. He monitored his temperature twice a day since his return. After a couple of day he developed a fever and called the Bellevue Hospital. He was picked up in a special ambulance, taken to the hospital where he was put in quarantine. He tested positive for Ebola. 

Dr. Craig Spencer
During his October 25 weekly address President Obama reminded Americans once again how Ebola is contracted. “New travel measures are now directing all travelers from the three affected countries in West Africa into five U.S. airports where we’re conducting additional screening. Starting this week, these travelers will be required to report their temperatures and any symptoms on a daily basis—for 21 days until we’re confident they don’t have Ebola.

“Here at the White House, my new Ebola response coordinator is working to ensure a seamless response across the federal government. And we have been examining the protocols for protecting our brave health care workers, and, guided by the science, we’ll continue to work with state and local officials to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and health of the American people.

“In closing, I want to leave you with some basic facts. First, you cannot get Ebola easily. You can’t get it through casual contact with someone. Remember, down in Dallas, even Mr. Duncan’s family—who lived with him and helped care for him—even they did not get Ebola. The only way you can get this disease is by coming into direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone with symptoms. That’s the science. Those are the facts.”


***Update: Dr. Craig Spencer is now free of the Ebola virus, and was released from a New York hospital November 11.
 
Ready to go to West Africa, American National Guard practice putting on hazmat suits

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