The day before a US doctor infected with the deadly Ebola virus was flown home from West Africa, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published photographs showing the kind of private air ambulance plane and patient isolation equipment that it would use for the mission. The images, which were posted on a CDC Facebook page on 2 August, show a negative pressure ‘tent’ along with a Gulfstream III aircraft, tail number N137PA, which is operated by Phoenix Air of Cartersville, Georgia, US.
Dr Kent Brantly was flown into Dobbins Air Reserve Base and taken by ground ambulance to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. He contracted the haemorrhagic fever as he took part in efforts to control the spread of the disease in Liberia. Television images showed Brantly and a member of medical staff entering the hospital, both wearing protective full body suits.
According to reports, the same plane will be used to repatriate a second US citizen, Nancy Writebol, who was also working in Liberia when she contracted the disease.
The CDC commented that it has established protocols in place to ensure the safe transport and care of patients with infectious diseases back to the US, which include using non-commercial planes equipped with transport isolation units.
Read the CDC’s guidance on air medical transport of patients with Ebola here.