Research

An Ebola patient in Hamburg

On August 27, 2014, a special aircraft arrived at Hamburg airport, carrying an Ebola patient from Sierra Leone to be treated at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). The patient’s samples were closely followed for viral load and infectivity by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and by viral cultures in Vero cells, respectively.

Training inside the containment ward (Photography: Tom Hildebrandt, UKE).
Training inside the containment ward (Photography: Tom Hildebrandt, UKE).

In the course of his disease, the patient experienced several complications including bacterial septicaemia, respiratory failure and brain involvement. Intensive care including forced intravenous fluid substitution of up to ten litres per day, broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment and temporary non-invasive artificial respiration resulted in complete recovery without applying experimental treatment. Discharge of the patient was delayed by persistent detection of viral RNA in sweat and urine for four and six weeks although viruses could be cultured only for 2 and 3.5 weeks, respectively. The case shows that even severe Ebola disease can be treated successfully by conventional intensive care.

 


Kreuels B. et al., N Engl J Med. 2014; 371:2394-401

Benno Kreuels, Petra Emmerich, Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, Stephan Günther and external co-operation partners (see publication)