OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — When Dr. Martin Salia arrived in Omaha from Sierra Leone, he became the 10th person with Ebola to receive treatment in the U.S.
The 44-year-old surgeon traveled Saturday to the Nebraska Medical Center. Salia is a Sierra Leone citizen who lives in Maryland.
He had been working at Kissy United Methodist Hospital in the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown when he fell ill. Last Monday, Salia tested positive for Ebola, which has killed more than 5,000 people and infected more than 14,000 in West Africa.
His wife, Isatu Salia, said Friday that she had spoken with her husband by phone earlier in the day and that he sounded weak but lucid and understood what was going on.
A look at Ebola treatment in the US by the numbers:
Before Salia’s arrival, nine people with Ebola had received medical treatment in the United States, many of them aid workers. The first, Dr. Kent Brantly, returned to the U.S. in early August. The latest, Dr. Craig Spencer, left a New York City hospital on Tuesday. He fell ill with Ebola after returning from West Africa.
Five of the nine people already treated in the United States were — like Salia — diagnosed with Ebola in West Africa and flown to the United States. They include three doctors, a medical aid worker and man who worked as a video journalist. The other four were diagnosed in the United States.
Four U.S. hospitals have specialized treatment units for people with highly infectious diseases, including the largest one at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. The others are at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the National Institutes of Health near Washington and St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana.
Salia is the third at the Omaha hospital; the Montana unit is the only one that hasn’t been used yet for an Ebola patient.
Two cases of Ebola have originated in the United States. Two Dallas nurses — Nina Pham and Amber Vinson — were infected while caring for a Liberian man sick with the disease. Both of the nurses have recovered.
There has been only one Ebola death in the United States. Thomas Eric Duncan became sick days after arriving in Dallas from Liberia. He went to the emergency room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital but was sent home, which the hospital has acknowledged was a mistake. He returned a few days later, was diagnosed with Ebola and died Oct. 8.
Stobbe reported from New York.