Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse infected with Ebola who is being treated at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, is in fair condition Monday, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at NIH.
Fauci said Pham is comfortable and stable in an isolation unit at NIAID. He commented on her condition Monday morning during an Ebola forum at the Newseum sponsored by the radio station WTOP.
Fauci, who said he is taking care of Pham, would not speculate on whether Pham, 26, will fully recover, but did say that he intends to walk out of the hospital with her.
“She’s comfortable, she’s stable,” Fauci said. “When you get an infection as serious as Ebola, it’s very draining on you.”
Fauci said he had a “very long” conversation with Pham on Sunday night and described her as in “good spirits.”
Pham was infected with the virus after taking care of Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Pham was one of two nurses infected with the virus while treating Duncan. The other, Amber Vinson, 29, is being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
Fauci was joined by Dr. Jesse Goodman, an infectious disease expert at the Georgetown University Medical Center, and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the Maryland secretary of health, for a wide-ranging discussion about the response to Ebola in the United States that was webcast live.
All three doctors emphasized the very low risk that Ebola presents to the general public. Fauci noted that the two nurses—the only two people to be infected with the virus in the United States—were taking care of a “desperately ill patient.”
Fauci also said the public should carefully weigh what’s reported about the disease, saying the 24-hour news cycle has focused on some sensational storylines such as “clipboard guy”, a man photographed not wearing a haz-mat suit while Amber Vinson was being loaded onto an aircraft. He also noted that the media had claimed Pham’s condition had deteriorated because NIAID listed her in fair condition after she arrived from Dallas, while the Texas hospital where she was initially treated had listed her in good condition. He said the discrepancy was the result of NIAID doctors taking a more conservative view, not that her condition had changed.