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Ebola Scare: First US Nurse to Contract Disease, Shifted to NIH

Nina Pham, the first nurse to contract the Ebola virus in the US, has been moved to the National Institute of Health (NIH) outside Washington on Thursday from the Dallas Presbyterian Hospital in Texas where she was attending to Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient in the country who died on Oct 8.

According to the hospital, Pham, who received a warm farewell from her colleagues, was in good condition given the seriousness of the disease.

The NIH, one of the four special bio-containment units in the country, has only two beds for highly contagious patients and that fact has caused concern if many more people come down with the virus.

The second Ebola-infected nurse, Amber Winson, 29, was flown Wednesday from Dallas, Texas, to the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta which in August successfully treated two Americans who had contracted the disease in West Africa.

Given that some 75 health workers in the Dallas Presbyterian hospital who attended Duncan are currently under observation, these transfers are expected to give the centre time to recover from the crisis and get ready for possible future cases, said a hospital spokeswoman.

President Barack Obama announced Thursday that he was considering the possibility of appointing an Ebola "czar" to coordinate the fight against the virus but ruled out a ban on flights from affected countries.

The Ebola epidemic that broke out in West Africa last March has already caused 4,493 deaths and infected 8,997 people, almost all in Guinea Conakry, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organisation.


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