The Italian doctor who has been tested positive for the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone has been taken to Rome by plane.
The health ministry said that the doctor is the first Italian to contract the disease; he would arrive in Rome late Monday or early Tuesday and will be admitted at the Lazzaro Spallanzani national institute of infectious disease, according to the Telegraph.
The reported 50-year old doctor contracted the disease while working for NGO Emergency at a clinic for Ebola victims. Ebola has killed more than 5,000 people in West Africa in its latest outbreak. Italy has 26 doctors working with Emergency charity group in Sierra Leone.
The doctor was flown into the military airport of Practica di Mare in a sealed unit before he was transferred to the institute. Emanuele Nicastri, the doctor performing the treatment on the Ebola victim, said that when he was hospitalized he was helpful, alert and moving around on his own. He presented symptoms of shivers and a fever.
The unidentified doctor is undergoing an experimental treatment, but Nicastri didn’t disclose the name of the drug, though he said it has been tried on other victims of Ebola in Europe and the US and has been declared safe for general use.
Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin stated that the virus has no chance to spread from the 6-room ward where the victim will be treated by Ebola specialists, and that the situation was ‘under control’. The patient will not be in physical contact with the nurses, or doctor. And especially with the outside world.
Apart from Italy, Spain has also reported health workers contracting Ebola virus in 2014, due to treating patients in West Africa. The US has also experienced multiple cases, which has resulted in authorities implementing strict Ebola-screening measures at airports.
But the situation in Sierra Leone remains grim. New infected cases have been increasing in the past few weeks, reaching 100 cases a day. The UN Ebola Emergency Response team recently stated it will not fully meet its December 1 deadline for containing the diseases due to a rising number of cases.