Ebola Patient Dies in Germany


A Sudanese member of the United Nations medical team in Liberia who had become infected with Ebola has died in Germany today. The 56-year-old man had been evacuated to Germany last Thursday and had received intensive treatment at the St. Georg hospital in Leipzig. He had tested positive for Ebola on October 6th. St. Georg Hospital, while it has announced the man’s death, is currently not answering calls from the media. State officials have also not yet released the man’s name. St. Georg hospital’s chief executive, Dr. Iris Minde, has assured the public that there is no risk of this infection spreading in Leipzig.

St. Georg hospital placed the 56-year-old medical team member under extreme isolation and quarantine after this arrival in Germany. St. Georg hospital had the resources to place him in specially equipped and maintained room that is hermetically sealed through negative air pressure and is only accessible through a number of airlocks. These airlocks prevent Ebola from being accidentally released into the hospital as a whole and allow the staff to effectively de-gown and decontaminate themselves. Health officials from St. Georg hospital also note that all air and liquids from the man’s room were also decontaminated before being released.

The 56-year-old man had been brought to Germany on a specially adapted Gulfstream jet that was redesigned to transport infectious Ebola patients internationally. On his initial arrival in Leipzig, doctors at St. Georg hospital described his condition as stable, but highly critical. It was hoped that his condition would not worsen under the intensive medical care he was given. However, the 56-year-old patient succumbed to the Ebola infection late last night. 41 of his colleagues in Liberia have been placed under close observation in case they too contracted the infection.

While this United Nations healthcare worker is the first person to pass away due to Ebola in Germany, he was the third patient to be airlifted to the country for treatment. Last August, an employee of the World Health Organization in Sierra Leone had been brought to receive treatment in Hamburg. He spent the remainder of August and the entirety of September in isolation while being treated for Ebola. According to health officials in Hamburg, this man eventually fully recovered and was repatriated to Senegal early in October. Another Ebola patient, a physician from Uganda who worked for an Italian aid group is still receiving treatment in a hospital in Frankfurt. His present condition is unknown.

Health officials in Germany, while noting that it is extremely unlikely that the three Ebola patients who have been brought to Germany would infect any of their caretakers, have assured their citizens that they are prepared for a potential outbreak. Seven hospitals around Germany have created special isolation units for potential Ebola patients. These hospitals are located in the major cities of Frankfurt, Leipzig, Hamburg, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Munich, and Stuttgart. The first three have already received Ebola patients on their ward. Altogether, these wards can hold 50 Ebola patients. German officials have stated that they have no plans to expand these wards.


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