Researcher may have been exposed to Ebola

FEB. 19–FORT DETRICK, Md.–A civilian Army researcher is in isolation here after possibly being exposed to the Ebola virus, Army officials said.

The researcher accidentally pricked herself with a needle that contained a weakened form of the Ebola virus last week while she was injecting mice with the virus as part of a research effort.

The woman has shown no signs of the fatal illness, but will remain at Fort Detrick for up to 30 days of isolation.

Local government officials have been notified, but no one else is believed to have been exposed.

The Ebola virus, named for the river in Africa where it first struck nearly 30 years ago, causes high fever, a rash, and bleeding from the internal organs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incubation period is between two and 21 days, but a small number of people who have been exposed have been found not susceptible to serious effects. In addition to exposure through a cut, scrape, or injection, it can be passed person-to-person through body secretions.

Fort Detrick, about 30 miles from Washington, traditionally has been known for its germ warfare research. In recent years, the facility’s biomedical mission has included a role in the investigation of anthrax bioterror attacks on the U.S. Capitol in October 2001.

It is home to the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, and houses the main research lab for the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

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