Emory University Hospital is expected to receive a patient infected with the deadly Ebola virus within the next several days, the university announced Thursday.
It’s unclear when exactly the patient will arrive, according to a statement from Emory. The Clifton Road hospital has a specially built isolation unit to treat patients exposed to certain serious infectious diseases. Set up in collaboration with the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the unit is physically separate from other patient areas and is one of only four such facilities in the country.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that the Ebola death toll passed 700 in West Africa as security forces went house-to-house in Sierra Leone’s capital looking for patients and others exposed to the disease.
The CDC warned against travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The AP also said that almost half of the 57 new deaths reported by the World Health Organization occurred in Liberia, where two Americans, Dr. Kent Brantly of Texas and Nancy Writebol, a North Carolina-based missionary, are also sick with Ebola. It was unknown which of the two was coming to Atlanta.
Quoting an unidentified source, CNN reported Thursday evening that a medical charter flight left Cartersville to evacuate the two Americans from Monrovia, Liberia.
Experts on the Ebola virus expressed little concern that the virus would spread to other continents. CDC Director Thomas Frieden said an outbreak in the United States was “not in the cards.”
Agence France-Presse interviewed Dr. Peter Piot, a discoverer of the virus and head of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who said there was little risk of pandemic.
“Spreading in the population here, I’m not that worried about it,” he told AFP.
“I wouldn’t be worried to sit next to someone with Ebola virus on the Tube as long as they don’t vomit on you or something,” he said, referring to London’s underground train system. “This is an infection that requires very close contact.”
Ebola is spread through contact with bodily fluids.