Ebola Survivor Dr. Rick Sacra Released from UMass Memorial

Dr. Rick Sacra is an American doctor who contracted the Ebola virus in Africa.
Dr. Rick Sacra is an American doctor who contracted the Ebola virus in Africa. –AP

Massachusetts physician Dr. Rick Sacra was released from Worcester’s UMass Memorial Hospital on Monday after being treated for an upper respiratory infection.

Sacra, who survived a bout with Ebola, tested negative for a recurrence of the virus when he was admitted to the hospital Saturday after showing signs of pneumonia, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed Sunday.

“The symptoms that he has, which is a cough, is not the symptoms that Ebola presents,’’ Dr. Robert Finberg, the chair of medicine at that hospital said in a press conference on Sunday.

Sacra, who lives in Holden, contracted the disease in August while working at an obstetrics clinic in Liberia. He was successfully treated at Nebraska Medical Center and released.

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On Saturday, Sacra was taken to a Boston-area emergency room Saturday with a cough and low-grade fever, then transferred to UMass Memorial.

News of Sacra’s condition was released hours after the hospital confirmed that a patient was undergoing a medical evaluation after showing possible signs of Ebola.

The hospital confirmed that the previously unnamed patient was actually Sacra and that he was isolated in the hospital as a precaution.

There was never a risk to the public, the hospital said in a statement.

Besides Sacra, one other person from New England has contracted Ebola since the beginning of the most recent outbreak.

Freelance journalist Ashoka Mukpo, of Providence, R.I., tested positive for the disease while working in Liberia with an NBC News crew, the network confirmed Thursday. He is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Nebraska.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in an advisory that the possibility of a case of Ebola in Massachusetts remains extremely low.

Several potential cases have been investigated in Massachusetts, but none even warranted that tests be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the department said in a press conference Friday afternoon.

“Massachusetts is well prepared to handle an incidence of Ebola, in the unlikely event that a case should occur in the Commonwealth,’’ the department said.

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