Review Category : Health

Plane Bringing Second American with Ebola Back to US to Leave for Liberia Sunday

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — The plane carrying the second American patient who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia will leave the U.S. for the West African country Sunday, a U.S. official told ABC News.

The private air ambulance is scheduled to take off on Sunday and arrive in Liberia after one stopover, the official said. The plane will then bring aid worker Nancy Writebol to Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga., and is expected to land midday Tuesday.

The same plane brought Dr. Kent Brantly to Georgia on Saturday. He’s undergoing treatment at Emory University Hospital, where Writebol will be treated after she arrives in the U.S.

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Why Experts Were Surprised That Ebola-Infected Doctor Could Walk Into a Hospital

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The fact that an Ebola-infected American was able to walk into a Georgia hospital Saturday after his return to the United States surprised even medical experts familiar with the ravages of the deadly disease.

Dr. Kent Brantly arrived at Emory University Hospital Saturday after being evacuated from Monrovia, Liberia where he was being treated for Ebola. Although Brantly had shown signs of the disease for the past week, he managed to walk into the hospital with the support of medical personnel.

All three wore protective gear to contain the deadly virus.

Brantly, along with missionary Nancy Writebol, was infected with the disease after working with Ebola-infected patients in Liberia’s capital city. This current Ebola outbreak is the worst on record and has killed more than 700 in three countries in West African and infected more than 1,300.

Before Brantly arrived in Atlanta, not much about his condition had been made public. According to Samaritan’s Purse, the aid organization he was working for, Brantly was in “serious but stable” condition before being flown to the U.S.

When the doctor was able to walk into the hospital, at least two experts said they were surprised but pleased that the doctor seemed to be doing well.

This strain of the Ebola virus has a fatality rate of approximately 60 percent and past outbreaks had fatality rates as high as 90 percent.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said he felt “guardedly optimistic,” since Ebola usually advances quickly and Brantly had shown signs of the disease for at least a week.

“The first thing we all said ‘Whoa he’s not on a vent,'” Schaffner said of realizing that Brantly did not need a ventilator to help him breathe. “In general [with] Ebola is … you progress on a downhill course. If you’re at this point and you’re holding your own you’re entitled to be optimistic.”

While the incubation period can last from eight to 21 days, once someone develops symptoms they can be sick for a wider range of time. Schaffner explained that when someone shows signs of Ebola they tend to go downhill fairly rapidly and consistently.

Scaffner said that once a person shows signs of Ebola the symptoms don’t usually disappear until the person overcomes the virus. As a result, they don’t usually have periods where they could appear healthy and relapse.

Schaffner said the fact that Brantly appeared to be well enough to walk, indicates that at least for the moment his heart rate, respiratory rate and other vital signs were not critical.

Dr. Stephen Morse, a professor of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said although it does not guarantee Brantly will fully recover, the fact that he could walk 10 days after showing Ebola symptoms is a “good sign.”

“If you can walk in, that’s a very good sign. I was surprised but pleasantly,” Morse said of seeing Brantly walk to the hospital entrance.

Morse said that Brantly was obviously not out of the woods and that he would be under constant monitoring to ensure his blood pressure, lung function, kidney function and other vitals remained steady.

“If he really does get better, we want to know his secret,” Morse said.

After Brantly’s arrival, his wife Amber Brantly released a statement saying she is relieved her husband has arrived in the U.S.

“It was a relief to welcome Kent home today,” Amber Brantly said in a statement. “I spoke with him, and he is glad to be back in the U.S. I am thankful to God for his safe transport and for giving him the strength to walk into the hospital.”

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How Doctors Can Transport Ebola-Stricken Americans More Than 5,000 Miles

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — To make the 5,000-mile journey from Africa to the U.S., the two Americans infected with Ebola are traveling in a specially outfitted air ambulance to keep the plane crew and doctors safe from the deadly virus.

After receiving treatment for Ebola for more than a week in a Liberian hospital, Dr. Kent Brantly landed at Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia on Saturday and will be treated at Emory University Hospital in a special isolation ward.

He was the first to land in the U.S. for treatment.

To fly Brantly from Africa, a specialized air ambulance was used. Within the ambulance, Brantly was likely treated by protected medical staff in a specially designed “isolation pod” to keep the flight crew safe and the virus contained.

Brantly was treating patients in Liberia for the disease when he was infected. American missionary Nancy Writebol was also infected while working in the same hospital. Both are listed in serious but stable condition.

Because the air ambulance was only able to accommodate one patient at time, experts said that Brantly most likely the first to be evacuated because he was in worse health.

Nancy Writebol is expected to arrive in Georgia by early next week.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said the officials in charge of evacuating the two Americans likely looked a host of medical factors before picking who would leave first.

“You have to decide who is going to benefit the most from the [medical] resources,” Schaffner said. “They might indeed make the decision, about who is the most critically ill and needs that sophisticated care the quickest.”

Schaffner said in the isolation pods there would like be multiple personnel to treat the patient and monitor their vital signs to ensure their health through the lengthy flight.

However, experts said the fact that both patients were deemed healthy enough to make the journey is a positive sign.

Dr. Philip Smith, a professor of infectious disease and medical director of the Bio-containment Unit at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha Nebraska, said before putting Brantly on a plane officials would have had to determine that the doctor’s vital signs were not in flux.

“When they say these people are well enough to fly it’s very encouraging,” Smith said. “They wouldn’t have any uncontrolled bleeding, they would be stable from cardiac and pulmonary [changes] … their blood pressure[would be stable.]“

Smith said as long as the patients have been cleared to fly they will likely not be at more risk of complications aboard the plane. Smith said if doctors are concerned about lung function during pressure changes, they could use ventilators.

Since both Ebola and long flights can lead to blood clots, doctors could administer drugs to stop blood clots from forming.

One of the biggest difficulties with the flight could come after it has landed, Smith said. Although the isolation pods are designed to completely separate the plane from the infected passenger, medical officials would also work to decontaminate the interior cabin of the plane where Brantly was located, he said.

“The problem is if you have an organism that is particularly deadly or if it’s particularly difficult to kill, like anthrax, [then] you need to get something in every nook and cranny,” Smith said.

Some options available include a bleach-like substance, heating surfaces, or using chloride dioxide, although Smith warned that the substance “can be toxic.”

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How Doctors Can Transport Ebola-Stricken Americans More Than 5,000 Miles

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — To make the 5,000-mile journey from Africa to the U.S., the two Americans infected with Ebola are traveling in a specially outfitted air ambulance to keep the plane crew and doctors safe from the deadly virus.

After receiving treatment for Ebola for more than a week in a Liberian hospital, Dr. Kent Brantly landed at Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia on Saturday and will be treated at Emory University Hospital in a special isolation ward.

He was the first to land in the U.S. for treatment.

To fly Brantly from Africa, a specialized air ambulance was used. Within the ambulance, Brantly was likely treated by protected medical staff in a specially designed “isolation pod” to keep the flight crew safe and the virus contained.

Brantly was treating patients in Liberia for the disease when he was infected. American missionary Nancy Writebol was also infected while working in the same hospital. Both are listed in serious but stable condition.

Because the air ambulance was only able to accommodate one patient at time, experts said that Brantly most likely the first to be evacuated because he was in worse health.

Nancy Writebol is expected to arrive in Georgia by early next week.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said the officials in charge of evacuating the two Americans likely looked a host of medical factors before picking who would leave first.

“You have to decide who is going to benefit the most from the [medical] resources,” Schaffner said. “They might indeed make the decision, about who is the most critically ill and needs that sophisticated care the quickest.”

Schaffner said in the isolation pods there would like be multiple personnel to treat the patient and monitor their vital signs to ensure their health through the lengthy flight.

However, experts said the fact that both patients were deemed healthy enough to make the journey is a positive sign.

Dr. Philip Smith, a professor of infectious disease and medical director of the Bio-containment Unit at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha Nebraska, said before putting Brantly on a plane officials would have had to determine that the doctor’s vital signs were not in flux.

“When they say these people are well enough to fly it’s very encouraging,” Smith said. “They wouldn’t have any uncontrolled bleeding, they would be stable from cardiac and pulmonary [changes] … their blood pressure[would be stable.]“

Smith said as long as the patients have been cleared to fly they will likely not be at more risk of complications aboard the plane. Smith said if doctors are concerned about lung function during pressure changes, they could use ventilators.

Since both Ebola and long flights can lead to blood clots, doctors could administer drugs to stop blood clots from forming.

One of the biggest difficulties with the flight could come after it has landed, Smith said. Although the isolation pods are designed to completely separate the plane from the infected passenger, medical officials would also work to decontaminate the interior cabin of the plane where Brantly was located, he said.

“The problem is if you have an organism that is particularly deadly or if it’s particularly difficult to kill, like anthrax, [then] you need to get something in every nook and cranny,” Smith said.

Some options available include a bleach-like substance, heating surfaces, or using chloride dioxide, although Smith warned that the substance “can be toxic.”

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American Doctor with Ebola Lands in Georgia

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — A plane carrying an American doctor who contracted Ebola while treating patients in West Africa landed at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, on Saturday.

Samaritan’s Purse confirmed that Dr. Kent Brantly was the first American patient to be evacuated from Liberia aboard a private air ambulance. The flight landed about 11 a.m. Saturday.

Brantly and Nancy Writebol, an aid worker, will be treated at a specialized unit at Emory University in Atlanta.

Both Brantly and Writebol are listed in “serious but stable condition,” according to Samaritan’s Purse, the aid group Brantly for which worked. Writebol is expected to arrive in the U.S. early next week.

Brantly and Writebol worked at a hospital in Liberia. He’s the first patient infected with Ebola to be on U.S. soil.

While Ebola is a highly fatal disease, an outbreak of the virus is incredibly unlikely within the U.S. The containment units Brantly and Writebol will be treated in are designed to isolate infected patients and protect health workers and the public from the disease.

The director for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Tom Frieden, told ABC News the isolation unit was one of only four in the nation.

Ebola does not easily spread from person to person. The virus is transmitted through bodily secretions, including blood and urine, or through contaminated surfaces. As a result, the group most at risk is medical staff.

More than 700 people have died after contracting Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea since cases were first reported in March, according to the World Health Organization.

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Study Notes Employed Adults Under 55 Have Decreased Heart Risk

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study indicated that among Americans under the age of 55, those who are employed may see diminished risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

In a study published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers looked at data from over 91,000 individuals between 2008 and 2012. After reviewing the data, researchers found that the overall rate of coronary heart disease and stroke among adults under the age of 55 was 2.8 percent. Employed adults had a below average rate of heart disease or stroke, with just a 1.9 percent prevalence. Unemployed adults were slightly higher at 2.5 percent, while adults not in the labor force had a 6.3 percent rate of such cardiovascular risks.

Men were determined to be more likely to have cardiovascular risks than women, and current and former smokers were more likely to suffer from heart disease or stroke than those who had never smoked. Workers with a college degree also had a lower risk of heart issues than those with less education.

The results of the study are limited by self-reporting. Researchers also note that the link between employment and heart risk is associative, and not necessarily a matter of cause and effect.

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Plane Carrying First Ebola Patient to Land in Georgia Saturday

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — A United States official says the plane carrying the first Ebola patient will land Saturday in Georgia.

The State Department confirmed that they will be using a non-commercial aircraft and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention equipment during the medical evacuation.

It was announced on Friday that both patients, Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly, will be treated at Emory University Hospital.

“Emory University Hospital has a specially built isolation unit set up in collaboration with the CDC to treat patients who are exposed to certain serious infectious diseases,” hospital officials said. “It is physically separate from other patient areas and has unique equipment and infrastructure that provide an extraordinarily high level of clinical isolation. It is one of only four such facilities in the country.”

“Emory University Hospital physicians, nurses and staff are highly trained in the specific and unique protocols and procedures necessary to treat and care for this type of patient. For this specially trained staff, these procedures are practiced on a regular basis throughout the year so we are fully prepared for this type of situation,” they added.

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Two Americans with Ebola to Be Flown Back to US ‘Early Next Week’

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Two American patients stricken with Ebola will not be flown from Africa to the U.S. until early next week, ABC News has learned.

The patients, Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly, were scheduled to be transported on Friday, but the organization that they work for, Samaritan’s Purse, said in a statement that the transfer will not happen for several days.

“The two Americans who contracted Ebola in Liberia remain in the country today but medical evacuation efforts are underway and should be completed by early next week,” according to the statement.

The State Department confirmed that they will be using a non-commercial aircraft and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention equipment during the medical evacuation which will take place “over the coming days,” but they did not state the names of the two American citizens out of privacy concerns.

“Every precaution is being taken to move the patients safely and securely, to provide critical care en route on a non-commercial aircraft, and to maintain strict isolation upon arrival in the United States,” the State Department statement said.

When they are flown back to the U.S., they will be transported one by one, sources said.

Initially only one of the two patients was going to be treated at Emory University Hospital’s special facility containment unit but it was announced on Friday that both individuals will be treated at Emory.

“Emory University Hospital has a specially built isolation unit set up in collaboration with the CDC to treat patients who are exposed to certain serious infectious diseases,” hospital officials said. “It is physically separate from other patient areas and has unique equipment and infrastructure that provide an extraordinarily high level of clinical isolation. It is one of only four such facilities in the country.”

“Emory University Hospital physicians, nurses and staff are highly trained in the specific and unique protocols and procedures necessary to treat and care for this type of patient. For this specially trained staff, these procedures are practiced on a regular basis throughout the year so we are fully prepared for this type of situation,” they added.

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Tenn. Doctor in Quarantine After Ebola Outbreak: ‘I’m Feeling Well’

iStock/Thinkstock(MORRISTOWN, Tenn.) — A Tennessee doctor who placed himself in quarantine after volunteering in West Africa, where the Ebola virus is rampant, says he’s “feeling well” and showing no sign of symptoms.

Alan Jamison, a retired pediatrician, returned home to Morristown, Tenn., after he was evacuated from Liberia by the aid group he was volunteering for — working at the same hospital as Dr. Kent Bradley, an American now fighting the deadly virus.

“I feel very comfortable and I’m looking forward to being able to be with my family again,” Jamison told ABC News via Skype.

Since landing in the U.S., he said he’s had no physical contact with anyone and has only been near his daughter, who picked him up from the airport. Jamison said he plans to hole up at home until the 21-day incubation period is completed.

“I’m out of the major risk period right [now],” he said. “The isolation that I’m going through right now is in excess of what the CDC suggested for the precaution for my family.”

Jamison added that he’s comfortable at home and hasn’t had any signs of fever or illness. The virus is not contagious until symptoms appear.

Medical Teams International, the group Jamison works for, said it pulled him out of Liberia for safety and security reasons. Jamison was working in the Ebola isolation unit at ELWA Hospital, near the Liberian capital Monrovia.

He described the protective equipment he and other doctors wore when working with infected patients — a suit with goggles, rubber boots, two pairs of gloves and two face masks layered on top of each other.

Jamison isn’t sure how Brantley, who is in isolation and expected to arrive in the U.S. next week, became infected with Ebola.

“He was very cognizant and careful with the hygiene precautions that he used,” Jamison said. “I’m not sure how it occurred that he was exposed.”

A second American has also contracted the Ebola virus in West Africa: Nancy Writebol, an aid group worker.

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Do You Hear Sounds After Playing Video Games?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you can hear the clanging of Candy Crush coins or characters’ voices from League of Legends long after you’ve stopped playing, you’re not losing your mind.

You might just have game transfer phenomena.

Psychologists from Nottingham Trent University’s International Gaming Research Unit gathered online data from 1,244 gamers and found extended play can induce “pseudo hallucinatory-like experiences.”

Of the sample, 12 percent reported hearing sounds as a result of their gaming, including everything from characters’ voices to bullets, ringing and explosions.

For Kim Kardashian Hollywood fans, that may mean hearing the theme music for the game, or Kardashian’s voice telling your character, “You’re the best,” after helping her pick out an outfit.

It could also mean hearing bloodcurdling screams, bullets, sword fights and groans from other popular games, like World of Warcraft and Call of Duty.

The phenomena is so real, according to researchers, that some gamers reported hearing the sounds coming from external sources.

Game transfer phenomena was most prevalent after gamers played all night or for days on end, and cropped up during everyday activities, such as sleeping, walking and driving.

Researchers warned that extended game play can sometimes spur illogical thoughts, behaviors and distress in gamers — making it crucial that gamers are able to understand when they’re experiencing game transfer phenomena.

Ferris “AGent” Ganzman, the coach of Robert Morris University’s first varsity League of Legends team, is immersed in a world of video games, but said he’s never experienced “game transfer phenomena.”

“If it does happen it’s probably not that common,” he said. “At least the majority of people I have talked to have never told me about this happening.”

But for the people who game transfer phenomena is all too real, Mark Griffiths, a research professor who worked on the study, offers this advice: “The best way for the tiny minority that may have longer lasting phenomena is to simply cut down the amount they play,” he said.

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