State Department visits NMC biocontainment unit to assess capabilities

Aug 2, 2014

UNMC and the Nebraska Medical Center have been contacted by the State Department about the capabilities of the hospital’s biocontainment unit.

Hospital officials confirmed Friday that a State Department representative visited the biocontainment unit. The visit was to determine the hospital’s capabilities in the event Ebola patients would need to be treated there.

A news release from UNMC says the visit was strictly a fact-finding mission, and at this point there are no plans to bring Ebola patients to Nebraska for treatment. Biocontainment unit director Dr. Philip Smith says if Ebola patients were treated at the hospital, there would be no danger to others.

Nebraska Medical Center’s biocontainment unit is one of four in the U.S. equipped to handle Ebola patients. The hospital’s unit has been operational for almost a decade. It has a staff of 30 and is equipped to handle diseases such as SARS, Ebola, smallpox, and avian flu.