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Monday, July 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

U.S. Patient With Ebola Improving, Doctors Say

BETHESDA, Md. (CN) - A U.S. health care worker being treated for Ebola is no longer in critical condition, a government-run hospital said Thursday.

Aside from downgrading the unidentified patient's status from critical to serious condition, the National Institutes of Health had no other information on the case.

Meantime Thursday, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases published a new study in Science that says the Ebola virus circulating among humans in West Africa "is undergoing relatively few mutations, none of which suggest that it is becoming more severe or transmissible."

The NIAID study compares virus-sequencing data from samples taken from patients in Guinea in March 2014, in Sierra Leone in June 2014 and in Mali in November 2014, according to a statement from NIH.

"Today's study, from NIAID's Rocky Mountain Laboratories, finds that there appear to be no genetic changes that would increase the virulence or change the transmissibility of the circulating Ebola virus, and that despite extensive human-to-human transmission during the outbreak, the virus is not mutating at a rate beyond what is expected," the NIH added. "Further, they say, based on their data it is unlikely that the types of genetic changes thus far observed would impair diagnostic measures, or affect the efficacy of candidate vaccines or potential virus-specific treatments."

The U.S. health care worker being treated in Maryland for Ebola contracted the virus while volunteering in an Ebola-treatment unit in Sierra Leone.

NIH admitted the patient on March 13 to its Clinical Center Special Clinical Studies Unit and noted a few days later that the individual was in critical condition .

The patient was transported to the United States in isolation via a chartered aircraft to NIH's high-level containment facility.

NIH says the World Health Organization listed more than 24,000 confirmed, suspected or probable cases of Ebola virus disease in West Africa, with about 10,000 deaths, as of March 11.

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