1st Dallas nurse with Ebola treated near DC

Medical staff in protective gear escort Nina Pham, exiting the ambulance, to a nearby aircraft at Love Field, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Dallas. Pham, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, was diagnosed with the Ebola virus after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan who died of the same virus. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola after treating an infected man at a Dallas hospital is in fair condition and being treated at a specialized isolation unit near Washington.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday that Nina Pham’s condition is stable and she is resting comfortably at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Pham, 26, arrived shortly before midnight Thursday and was admitted to the clinical studies unit. Doctors said her mother and sister are also now in the Washington area.

Pham is being treated by staff specializing in infectious disease and critical care. Workers are monitored as they put on and remove protective clothing and they limit the amount of time they spend in her room to prevent infection and reduce fatigue.

At a briefing outside NIH, Fauci was asked if Pham’s condition had changed for the worse since she left Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where she was described as in good condition.

“She’s not deteriorating,” he said. He said he couldn’t describe the reasons NIH doctors rated her status as “fair” without violating patient confidentiality, but he said she was very fatigued by the long journey and that such a condition “implies that she does still have some symptoms.”

However, he and Dr. Rick Davey, the deputy clinical director of the NIAID’s division of clinical research, painted a promising scene of Pham sitting up, eating and using her iPad.

“We fully intend to have this patient walk out of this hospital,” Fauci said.

Pham flew late Thursday from Dallas to Maryland. She was seen walking gingerly down the stairs of the plane to an awaiting ambulance that brought her to the hospital.

In a video shot Thursday in her Dallas hospital room, she is seen smiling as she sits upright in a hospital bed while a man identified as her treating physician can be heard thanking her for getting well and being part of the volunteer team that took care of Duncan, who died of Ebola last week.

“Come to Maryland. Everybody,” Pham laughs into the camera before wiping away tears with a tissue handed to her by an attendant in full protective gear.

 

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