iStock/Thinkstock(OMAHA, Neb.) — Dr. Rick Sacra, the third American missionary to become infected with Ebola in Liberia, received a blood transfusion from Dr. Kent Brantly, one of the other victims who was successfully treated for the disease, doctors said Thursday.
“Convalescent transfusion plasma was taken from a donor who had recovered, therefore presumably had antibodies against the virus that Rick had not yet had time to develop and two separate transfusions were harvested and given with no difficulties whatsoever,” explained Dr. Phil Smith at a press conference from Nebraska Medical Center, where Sacra is being treated. Smith is the director of the hospital’s bio-containment unit.
Dr. Angela Hewitt, the associate medical director of NMC’s bio-containment unit, elaborated: “[Sacra] received two doses of convalescent serum from Dr. Kent Brantly. He’s received an experimental drug every night actually for the last several days since his arrival.”
Doctors, however, don’t know how much of a role the transfusion played in Sacra’s condition, which has improved from stable to good.
“I don’t how much of his recovery is due to the drug, how much is due to the convalescent serum and how much is due to aggressive IV fluids and other medications to help him,” Smith said.
Sacra, a missionary with the group SIM, contracted Ebola while treating pregnant patients in Liberia. He was transported to Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha on Friday for treatment.
Sacra is the third American missionary to become infected in Monrovia, Liberia, following Ebola survivors Nancy Writebol and Brantly, who were treated and released from Emory University Hospital in August. A fourth American who became infected in Sierra Leone while working for the World Health Organization arrived in Atlanta for treatment at Emory University Hospital Tuesday.
So far, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed at least 2,296 people and sickened 1,997 more, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization.
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