Fauci: NIH Doctors Treating 1st Nurse with Ebola Won’t Be Under Travel Restrictions

By Melanie Arter | October 16, 2014 | 1:31 PM EDT

This 2010 photo provided by tcu360.com, the yearbook of Texas Christian University, shows Nina Pham, 26, who became the first person to contract the disease within the United States. (AP Photo/Courtesy of tcu360.com)

(CNSNews.com) – Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a House subcommittee Thursday that doctors at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., who will be treating Nina Pham – the first nurse to contract Ebola from Liberian Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan – will not be under travel restrictions.

“According to the guidelines that the people who will be coming into contact with her will be physicians, nurses and others who will be in personal protective equipment, and therefore, they are not restricted,” Fauci told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee.

Pham herself was “using full protective measures under the CDC protocols” when she treated Duncan, according to testimony by Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer and senior executive vice president for Texas Health Resources, which owns Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital where Pham worked.

“We don’t know yet precisely how or when she was infected. But it’s clear there was an exposure somewhere, sometime. We are poring over records and observations, and doing all we can to find the answers,” Varga said.

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), chair of the subcommittee, asked Fauci why Pham was being transferred to NIH.

“To give the state-of-the art care in a containment facility of highly trained individuals that are capable of taking care of her,” Fauci said.

When asked whether Pham’s condition has deteriorated or improved, Fauci said, “No, it’s not.

“I have not seen the patient yet. I will when she gets here, but from the report that we’re getting from our colleagues in Dallas is that her condition is stable, and she seems to be doing reasonably well, but I have to verify that myself when my team goes over,” he said.

Murphy asked if other people from Dallas or elsewhere who become infected with Ebola will be transferred to NIH.

“We have a limited capacity of beds of being able to do this type of high level care and containment. Our total right now is two beds. She will occupy one of them,” Fauci said.

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