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FAQ: The Deadly Ebola Virus


Duncan arrived in the U.S. on Sept. 20, 2014, to visit relatives. Ten days later, he became the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. He died Oct. 8, 2014.

In November 2014, a surgeon from Sierra Leone who lives in the United States died after being flown to the Nebraska Medical Center for treatment. Martin Salia, who was reportedly working at a hospital in the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown, arrived in the U.S. Nov. 15 and was taken to the medical center.

He was in extremely critical condition, suffering from kidney and respiratory failure, when he arrived, the hospital said. “We used every possible treatment available to give Dr. Salia every possible opportunity for survival,” said Phil Smith, MD, medical director of the hospital’s biocontainment unit. That included giving him the experimental treatment ZMapp, also given to other Ebola patients, according to the hospital.

But Salia’s disease was “extremely advanced,” Smith said in a statement.

Salia was reportedly a permanent U.S. resident who lived in Maryland with his family. Two other Americans -- Rick Sacra, MD, and cameraman Ashoka Mukpo -- recovered from Ebola after being treated in the Omaha isolation unit.

Craig Spencer, MD, a Doctors Without Borders physician who returned to the U.S. after treating Ebola patients in Guinea, was also diagnosed with the disease. He recovered after getting treatment at New York’s Bellevue Hospital in November 2014.

In total, six Americans infected with the virus in Africa have been brought back to the U.S. for treatment. All six, including aid workers Kent Brantly, MD, and Nancy Writebol, have recovered.

The fourth person was flown back to the U.S. in September 2014, for treatment at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital, where Brantly and Writebol were also treated. This person's arrival came after the WHO said one of its doctors was being evacuated from Sierra Leone after getting Ebola. The man was released from the hospital in October 2014. The hospital said at the time he wanted to remain anonymous.

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