Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageNebraska medicine — Ebola treatments at their best

By Nancy Houser     Oct 15, 2014 in Health
Omaha - “Nebraska Medicine - Ebola treatments at their best” refers not only to the Ebola virus but also refers to Nebraska Medicine as having the largest and most cutting-edge biocontainment unit of the nation.
With the World Health Organization estimating 10,000 Ebola cases a week in the next two months, the Nebraska unit will become invaluable to the nation and its people. Especially with the CIDRAP admitting the possibility of Ebola having the potential to become airborne.
This theory is supported by Dr. David Sanders of Purdue University, who studied for 11 years how the Ebola virus enters human cells. According to Sanders, “the virus is ‘primed’ to become airborne.” Once the virus is airborne, anyone who travels by plane could easily infect other passengers.
Nebraska Medicine  biocontainment unit
Nebraska Medicine, biocontainment unit
Nebraska Medicine
Nebraska Medicine  biocontainment unit
Nebraska Medicine, biocontainment unit
Nebraska Medicine
NBU is One-of-Four Specialized National Units
At the core of Nebraska Medicine is the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit (NBU), consisting of five rooms, a 10-bed availability and current activation of 30 team members practicing four times a year since 2005.
“ -- executing drills on admitting highly infectious patients, reviewing detailed procedures for safe treatment and memorizing what gear should be used for which diseases… There was no way to fully prepare for the pressure, the national focus, the immensity of being responsible for curing a patient whose deadly disease was at the center of global debate.” (written by the Angela L. Hewlett, a Nebraska physician specializing in infectious diseases and is the assistant medical director for the Nebraska Biocontainment Patient Care Unit at the Nebraska Medical Center.)
The Nebraska Biocontainment Unit is: (1) the most esteemed academic medical center in the region; (2) nationally recognized for its topmost neurological care; and (3) it is known for its ability to work serious medicine in a wide variety of medical conditions. It was once a joint project involving the Nebraska Medical Center, Nebraska Health and Human Services and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Today Nebraska it is under one umbrella for the Nebraska Medical Center, Bellevue Center, and UNMC Physicians.
One of four specialized units, the four national units are:
--- University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska
--- U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland
--- St. Patrick Hospital and Health Sciences Center in Missoula, Montana
--- Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia
Part of the hospital but isolated from other units, the NBU entrance for medical staff is under security at all times. The specialized unit was set up to handle highly contagious and deadly infectious conditions, including: SARS; smallpox; tularemia; plague; Ebola virus and other viral hemorrhagic fevers. Built at $1 million dollars after the September 11 catastrophe, the isolation unit was set up to combat bio-terrorism and SARS, a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that is a contagious and sometimes fatal respiratory illness.
The reason Nebraska was chosen as one of the four biocontainment sites in the nation is that “Nebraska ranked among the top six states for bioterrorism preparedness, according to a report by the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health.”
To add to its isolation safety, the NBU has its own air-handling system to prevent infectious particles from escaping to the surrounding hospital campus. Also, to transport infected patients to the unit on the seventh floor, a special transportation gurney is provided that is enclosed by a bubble-type seal for safety.
Safety reasons include ultraviolet light, a dunk tank for lab specimens and a sterilizer for items that are taken out of the unit — all meant to protect people on the outside from the disease. Additionally, the NBU has two videophones that allow family and friends to talk to those in isolation.
NOTE: Friends of Ashoka Mukpo, the Ebola patient who is now in Nebraska's Biocontainment Unit for Ebola, are turning to crowdsourcing to help the 33 year-old freelance journalist and human rights advocate as he recoups and to reimburse supplies. NBC has said they will pay his medical bills, expected to be more than $500,000 for the American video journalist.
The fundraiser on the website Gofundme had raised more than $51,232 by Tuesday afternoon, with more than 722 donations.
More about Nebraska, Ebola, Ebola treatment, Nebraska Medicine, Nebraska Biocontainment Unit
More news from
Latest News
Top News