Ebola Today: Unidentified Physician Recovers From Ebola at Emory; Cameraman Could Go Home This Week

NBC freelance cameraman Ashoka Mukpo who contracted Ebola in Liberia, is shown in this family photo released on October 6, 2014.
NBC freelance cameraman Ashoka Mukpo who contracted Ebola in Liberia, is shown in this family photo released on October 6, 2014. –REUTERS

9:46 p.m. ET: Could robots help?BetaBoston reported that researchers are meeting Nov. 7 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s campus to discuss how robots could assist during the next Ebola emergency. Michael Gennert, director of WPI’s director of WPI’s robotics program, says that some machines existing today—used for carrying soldiers from battlefields, or for killing bacteria and viruses with UV light—could be used to combat Ebola in future cases.

9:04 p.m. ET: This week in Ebola panic. New York Magazine’s Daily Intellligencer blog published a roundup of people freaking out about Ebola, titled “The Most Ignorant American Ebola Panic of the Moment,’’ which rips on some recent instances of Ebola overreaction:

As the spread of Ebola within the United States continues to not happen — we repeat: Only one person has died and two nurses who were in direct contact with him are currently being treated — the string of uninformed overreactions grows longer by the day, and shows once again that Americans have no idea how African geography works, let alone how a non-airborne virus is transmitted.

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4:31 p.m. ET: Emory Hospital: 3, Ebola: 0. Hospital spokespeople at Emory Hospital in Atlanta, Ga. said Monday afternoon that the unidentified physician who has been treated there since Sept. 9 for the Ebola virus was discharged on Sunday, Oct. 19. State and CDC public health officials said he is no longer a public health threat. The physician, whose identity was not disclosed for patient privacy, is the third person to recover after being treated for the Ebola virus at Emory Hospital. Hospital spokespeople expect the unidentified patient to speak to the media at a later time.

3:25 p.m. ET: Nebraska Med: 2, Ebola: 0. Physicians at Nebraska Medical Center announced Monday that Ashoka Mukpo, the Rhode Island cameraman who contracted Ebola while covering the outbreak in Liberia, could be released from the hospital’s isolation unit by the end of the week.

Mukpo has been receiving treatment for two weeks in the hospital’s isolation unit in Omaha with a combination of treatments including a blood transfusion from Dr. Kent Brantly and the same experimental drug that was administered to Thomas Eric Duncan.

Dr. Mark Rupp, who is leading Mukpo’s care team, also addressed some of the irrational fears spreading across the country about Ebola.

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“Children of parents who are working in our Biocontainment Unit are being shunned. This isn’t helpful or appropriate,’’ Dr. Rupp said at the press briefing. He also announced that hundreds of thousands of doses of a possible Ebola vaccine might be available in the next few months.

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#NebraskaMedEbola UPDATE from infectious disease specialist, Dr. Mark Rupp: Today, the first wave of people to have contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first man to die of Ebola in the U.S., have been declared disease free. “This is a crucial milestone for the city of Dallas and for concerned persons across the United States,” says Dr. Rupp. “This clearly demonstrates that even those persons who were living with Mr. Duncan for an extended period in a small apartment did not contract the disease. I hope this reinforces the message that the public is safe and that Ebola is not very infectious in its early stages. Having children shunned at birthday parties and soccer games because their parent works in the Biocontainment Unit is irrational."

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1:25 p.m. ET: Exchanging ideas too risky for J-school. Officials at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg uninvited 14 journalists from African countries to visit for three weeks on Oct. 31. for the annual Edward R. Murrow Visiting Journalists program. The program is organized by the US Department of State for foreign journalists to discuss their experiences and share stories about reporting in their countries.

University of South Florida St. Petersburg’s Department of Journalism and Media studies was one of seven journalism schools hosting 100 of the rising top journalists from around the world. Only the African journalists’ trips were canceled.

Here’sthe official letter .

“We cancelled out of upmost caution due to concerns about transmission of Ebola virus, which has proved fatal for more than 50% of the people who have been infected….Polls suggest that as many as 2/3 of Americans asked fear an Ebola epidemic. Faculty, students, and staff have told us that they share this concern, and some have expressed reservations about their involvement in the program we created for our visitors.’’

10:25 a.m. ET: 21 days later. Thomas Eric Duncan’s family saw him for the last time 21 days ago. None of his relatives have shown any signs or symptoms of the Ebola virus that killed Duncan on Oct. 8. Although his family’s quarantine officially ended at midnight on Sunday, the Dallas area community isn’t welcoming them with open arms. A cable technician apparently dropped equipment on the street instead of installing it in their apartment. Not exactly neighborly. As many as 43 of the 48 others who possibly interacted with Duncan also finished their 21-day quarantine period today.

“Our happiness is mixed with sadness at the same time. My beloved fiancée, Thomas Eric Duncan, who was also the father of my son, Karsiah Eric Duncan, did not survive with us,’’ said Duncan’s fiancé Louise Troh, in a statement. “Our hearts also go out to the two brave women who have been infected by this terrible disease as they were trying to help him. We are also aware of how much this has affected many other people of my city, Dallas, and my country, the United States of America, even as it has in the country of my birth, Liberia. We also know that many people who work in Presbyterian Hospital are hurting because of this tragedy.’’

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10:00 a.m. ET:That must have been really good takeout. Dr. Nancy Snyderman, the chief medical editor for NBC News, is officially clear of risk for contracting the Ebola virus. Dr. Snyderman was in West Africa covering the outbreak and worked briefly with Ashoka Mukpo, the freelance cameraman from Rhode Island who is currently being treated for the virus at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

In light of her interaction with Mukpo, Dr. Snyderman and her team voluntarily quarantined themselves for 21 days. Except when someone spotted them at a New Jersey restaurant getting take out, which unleashed public outrage. Now that the quarantine time is officially over, and her reputation is certainly damaged, it’s not clear whether Dr. Snyderman will work again for NBC News, and her license is now subject to sanctions. Boston.com received a copy from the American College of Emergency Physicians of a professional complaint currently filed against her:

“Dr. Nancy Snyderman, MD, violated an agreement for herself to undergo a 21 day period of voluntary quarantine after being in close contact with her cameraman that had contracted Ebola while traveling in West Africa. As a highly educated and high profile public journalist, this is most reprehensible…. She and others MUST understand that their licenses are at stake from such egregious acts.’’

6:53 a.m. ET: Great news. Nigeria is now free of Ebola, according to the World Health Organization.

The U.N. health agency made the announcement 42 days after the last Ebola case in Nigeria tested negative — that’s twice the disease’s maximum incubation period.

The WHO called Nigeria’s containment of the lethal disease a ‘‘spectacular success story.’’

Nigeria had reported 20 cases of Ebola, including eight deaths, according to The Associated Press.

6:07 a.m. ET: If you might have Ebola, go to the hospital.Urgent-care clinics are designed to treat patients with minor illnesses or injuries. They are not designed nor equipped to treat people who might have a highly contagious virus like Ebola. Specifically, these clinics do not have the facilities to isolate potential Ebola patients.

Already, there have been incidents in the US of people visiting these clinics after becoming concerned they might have been exposed to the virus — including a man who felt ill after traveling to West Africa. On Oct. 12, that man visited Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Braintree. He was later transferred to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where it was determined he did not have the virus.

Clinics are urging potential patients to get checked for the Ebola virus at a hospital.

Dr. William Gluckman of the Urgent Care Association of America, which represents more than 2,600 clinics, told The Associated Press that the facilities want anyone who suspects they may have contracted Ebola to go to a hospital emergency department.

The latest numbers:

Number of cases worldwide in the current outbreak: 9,216

Number of deaths: 4,555

Countries currently affected by Ebola: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States of America.

Countries where the outbreak has ended: Nigeria, Senegal

And here’s your daily reminder not to panic:

The likelihood of contracting Ebola in Massachusetts remains very low, according to the state’s public health officials. You have to be in direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids while they are contagious (displaying symptoms of Ebola). Even if someone has been exposed, symptoms may appear in as little as two days, and in as many as 21 days, after exposure. The CDC says the average is 8 to 10 days.

Ebola symptoms:

– Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)

– Severe headache

– Muscle pain

– Weakness

– Diarrhea

– Vomiting

– Abdominal (stomach) pain

– Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Need more details? Here’s an MGH physician dropping some knowledge for you.

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