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FAQ: The Deadly Ebola Virus


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. He wants to remain anonymous, the hospital said.

In early March of 2015, Liberia’s last Ebola patient was released from a treatment unit.

Months earlier, President Barack Obama had announced a plan to scale up the nation’s response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. The Department of Defense sent personnel to Liberia to boost the international response, and also planned to build units to treat Ebola patients.

Ebola: Frequently Asked Questions

Ebola was first identified in 1976, when it appeared in outbreaks in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is named for the Ebola River, which runs near the Congolese village where one of the first outbreaks happened.

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