Ten Americans Evacuated From Sierra Leone After Ebola Scare

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Ten Americans who helped treat a medical worker infected with the Ebola virus are being evacuated from Sierra Leone and will be quarantined near special isolation units, the charity they work for said Saturday.

Partners in Health, a nonprofit group with 2,000 staff in West Africa, said the Americans are being evacuated and quarantined out of an abundance of caution. Earlier Saturday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said several people would be flown to the U.S. by private jet.

"Ten clinicians who came to the aid of their ailing colleague were subsequently identified as contacts of the evacuated clinician," Partners in Health said in a statement on its website.

None has any symptoms.

"Ten clinicians who came to the aid of their ailing colleague were subsequently identified as contacts of the evacuated clinician."

The group says one of its workers is the American who was flown to the National Institutes of Health outside Washington on Friday after becoming sick. NIH says the patient, who isn't being identified, is in serious condition.

"Out of an abundance of caution, and in collaboration with the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, these clinicians are being transported to the United States via non-commercial aircraft," Partners in Health said.

"They will remain in isolation near designated U.S. Ebola treatment facilities to ensure access to rapid testing and treatment in the unlikely instance that any become symptomatic. The clinicians have agreed to be monitored, and will voluntarily self-isolate during the remainder of the 21-day incubation period, in accordance with CDC guidelines."

The Nebraska Medical Center said four of the clinicians -- the word usually refers to doctors or nurses -- would be quarantined there. Nebraska has a special isolation unit where three Ebola patients -- Dr. Rick Sacra and Ashoka Mukpo, who survived, and Dr. Martian Salia, who died, were treated.

"These people have been exposed to the virus but they aren't sick and aren't contagious," Dr. Phil Smith, who directs the center's bicontainment unit, said in a statement.

"In the unlikely instance that one of them does develop symptoms, we would take them to the Biocontainment Unit immediate for evaluation and treatment."

"These people have been exposed to the virus but they aren't sick and aren't contagious."

Others will stay near NIH and near Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. All the units have treated Ebola patients.

Ebola is still spreading in Sierra Leone and Guinea. No new cases have been counted in Liberia in a week, but officials say it's too soon to declare the country free of the virus.

The virus has killed more than 10,000 people in West Africa since the epidemic started a year ago, and infected 24,000.

CDC teams have been in Sierra Leone helping to set up a trial of a vaccine to prevent Ebola. They've been in West Africa for months helping local health officials work to control the epidemic.

Partners in Health said it has 2,000 employees working in West Africa, including 600 Ebola survivors and 100 expatriate clinicians.

Health care workers such as doctors and nurses are at especially high risk of catching Ebola, which is spread in bodily fluids. More than 800 have been infected in West Africa and more than 400 of the have died.

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