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Nov 21, 2014 7:37 AM

Cuban doctor arrives in Geneva for Ebola treatment

The Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) A Cuban doctor who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone arrived in Switzerland for treatment and was able to walk off the transport plane, a Geneva medical official said Friday.

Felix Baez Sarria arrived on a flight overnight and was transported in a specially outfitted ambulance with a police escort to Geneva University Hospital.

Geneva canton (state) Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jacques-Andre Romand told The Associated Press the 43-year-old Baez wore a protective suit and mask as he got off the plane and climbed onto a gurney before boarding the ambulance.

Romand said doctors will decide on a treatment regime for Baez, which could include experimental drugs.

"As soon as we know what is going on, if there is medication that will help him we will give it to him," Romand said.

Baez, a member of the 165-person medical team Cuba sent to Sierra, caught the disease when he rushed to help a patient who was falling over. His treatment in Switzerland was organized through the WHO.

Ebola is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of sick patients including blood, feces and urine. Health workers have been particularly vulnerable to contracting the virus.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been the hardest hit in the epidemic that has sickened more than 15,100 people since spring and caused more than 5,400 deaths, according to World Health Organization figures.

On Friday, French President Francois Hollande announced he would travel to Guinea next week to help put in place efforts to counter the virus. He is the first non-African head of state to visit the area since the outbreak started.

France plans to send mobile health clinics to Guinea and pledged 170 million euros ($211 million) to help fight the disease.

Also on Friday, Doctors Without Borders flew one of its Spanish health care workers home from Mali after she accidently pricked herself with a needle used on a person suffering from Ebola.

Spanish Health Ministry spokesman Fernando Simon said the woman has not shown any symptoms but is being treated as a "high-risk" case.


Ciaran Giles in Madrid and Lori Hinnant in Paris contributed to this story.


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