GENEVA, Nov 19 (Reuters) - A Cuban doctor infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone will be flown to Switzerland in the next 48 hours for hospitalisation in Geneva, Swiss health authorities said on Wednesday.
The doctor, identified by Cuba’s official website Cubadebate on Tuesday as Felix Baez, is one of 165 Cuban doctors and nurses treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. He is the first of the group, deployed since early October, known to be infected.
He is being evacuated from the West African country by a private American carrier, with the help of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health said in a statement. The WHO said it had no comment on the case.
“The University Hospital of Geneva, where he will be brought, is ready to admit him in accordance with long-established procedures that will ensure the security of all staff and patients,” the Swiss statement said.
A Geneva doctor specializing in infectious diseases is organizing his care in a special hospital room separate from other wards and outpatient clinics at the downtown hospital, it said. “The Swiss population is not at any risk.”
Hospital staff have been trained and rehearsed procedures to put on and remove protective gear, the Swiss statement said.
Switzerland has offered to treat international health workers being evacuated with the virus in Geneva, home of many international organizations, including the WHO, it said.
Geneva is one of two Swiss hospitals conducting trials of experimental vaccines against the virus, which has killed 5,177 people in eight countries. The NewLink vaccine, developed by Canada, is being tested in Geneva, while the GlaxoSmithKline vaccine is being tested in Lausanne.
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Angus MacSwan