What do Atlanta GA, Omaha NE, Bethesda MD, and Hamilton MT have in common?

Give up? Each city is home to one of the four biocontainment units in the United States. Dr. Rick Sacra, the obstetrician recently diagnosed with Ebola in Liberia, is being flown right past the University of Massachusetts, where he works, and landing in Omaha to be admitted to the largest of these units. The ten-bed unit has similar capabilities to the smaller such unit at Emory, and has admitted one patient since it opened in 2005 (that patient was ultimately diagnosed with malaria). The video above includes a nice description of the unit from Dr. Phil Smith, a FOTB (friend of the bloggers) who also happens to be a tremendous ID doc and healthcare epidemiologist (trained, of course, at Iowa!). 

The destination of those with confirmed Ebola returning to the US for treatment appears to be decided by the US State Department, and the biocontainment units are their preferred options. An interesting question—if someone is diagnosed with Ebola after admission to another US healthcare facility, how much pressure will there be for them to be transferred to one of these four units?


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