The first Dallas nurse diagnosed with Ebola is in fair but stable condition after being flown to Maryland for treatment at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, her doctors said Friday.
Nina Pham's admitting physician Dr. Anthony Fauci said Pham is "still experiencing some symptoms" but is "resting comfortably."
"We fully intend on having this patient walk out this hospital and we'll do everything we can to make that happen," Fauci said at a news conference Friday morning.
Pham appeared to be in good spirits in a rare, emotional video shot in her Dallas hospital room Thursday, just before she was flown to Maryland.
"Come to Maryland, everybody!" patient Nina Pham told Dr. Gary Weinstein and another health care worker treating her in the video, both of them wearing full protective suits, as the three of them became emotional. "I love you guys," she said.
— Jackie Bensen (@jackiebensen) October 17, 2014
Pham, who contracted Ebola after caring for patient Thomas Eric Duncan at a Dallas hospital, is now in the "care of physicians nurses and technicians with extensive training, experience and knowledge of infectious disease and infectious disease control,” Fauci said. Pham, 26, is the first patient diagnosed with the disease in the U.S.
She was flown to Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday night, after having been treated at the Dallas hospital where she works, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Her plane touched down at about 10:35 p.m. Pham was able to walk from the plane to a waiting ambulance.
Some residents of Frederick drove to the airport to witness Pham's arrival.
"I don't think people are worried," said resident Dan Horan. "I think they have confidence that NIH and people know what they're doing."
But another resident, Frances Brown, told News4, "I have concerns about the people of Frederick County, that, you know, they shouldn't be bringing this young lady into Frederick Airport, Frederick, Maryland. So take her somewhere else."
A young woman who visited the scene at the airport bore a sign reading, "Get well soon, Nina."
Pham's ambulance arrived at NIH shortly before midnight. She was expected to be taken directly to the Clinical Center, a hospital located on the grounds of the 312-acre campus in Bethesda.
Pham contracted Ebola while helping to care for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S., from the day he was placed in intensive care at Texas Health Presbyterian until the day before he died Oct. 8, NBC5 in Dallas reports.
As medical workers prepared to transport Pham via ambulance to Dallas' Love Field Thursday, her coworkers at Texas Health Presbyterian held up signs to encourage her.
Drivers in Texas were asked to honk in support of Pham if they saw her ambulance motorcade.
Pham was transported to Maryland on a charter flight operated by Phoenix Air, which took off around 8:10 p.m. and arrived at the Frederick, Maryland, Municipal Airport a little more than two hours later. From there, Pham was taken to NIH in Bethesda.
Fauci, one of the most highly respected immunologists in the world and the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Pham is now in the "care of physicians nurses and technicians with extensive training, experience and knowledge of infectious disease and infectious disease control."
Frederick's mayor, Randy McClement, said the State Department, Centers for Disease Control and local, state and federal health officials were all working to make sure the transfer happened safely.
"This transfer is being handled by experienced professionals who have coordinated the transport of many similar cases without incident," McClement said in a statement. "I have been assured that every precaution will be taken to move the patient safely and securely and to provide critical care en route."
Pham, meanwhile, expressed her gratitude.
"I'm so thankful for the outpouring of love and support from friends and family, my coworkers and complete strangers," Pham said in a statement released through Texas Health Presbyterian on Thursday. "I feel very blessed, and have gained strength from their support. I appreciate everything that my coworkers have done to care for me at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. I'm doing really well thanks to this team, which is the best in the world. I believe in my talented coworkers. I am #presbyproud!"
Texas Health Presbyterian said the decision to transfer Pham was made in consultation with Pham and her family, adding that many of the medical personnel who would usually work in the intensive care unit are currently "sidelined" for monitoring.
"It was a difficult decision to transfer Nina, a member of our own family and someone who is greatly loved and respected," said Dr. Gary Weinstein, chief of pulmonology and critical care medicine, in the statement. "We're so glad she has improved so much in such a short amount of time. Our prayers are with her, and she'll be in wonderful hands at NIH."
Pham will be admitted to the Special Clinical Studies Unit of the NIH Clinical Center, which is "specifically designed to provide high-level isolation," according to a statement released by NIH. The transfer request was made by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, according to NIH.
Pham will occupy one of two beds NIH has for Ebola patients. Last month, an American doctor who was exposed to Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone was monitored at NIH for the virus, but tested negative.
Fauci said it's too soon to say whether Pham will receive any experimental treatments, The Dallas Morning News reported.
"We're going to make that decision when she arrives," Fauci said, according to the newspaper. "I haven’t seen her yet. We haven't had the opportunity to examine her. So as soon as we get her into the unit and do the appropriate diagnostics -- we'll ask her first if we can make a statement because there's patient privacy involved."
Pham will be the first patient diagnosed with Ebola to be treated at NIH.
The staff in the Special Clinical Studies Unit is trained to prevent the spread of infectious diseases using "strict infection control practices."
NIH says it is taking every precaution to ensure the safety of its patients, staff and the public.
Pham and other health care workers wore protective gear, including gowns, gloves, masks and face shields -- and sometimes full-body suits -- when caring for Duncan, but she became the first person to contract the disease within the United States.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person or exposure to contaminated objects, such as needles. It's not clear how Pham contracted the disease.
Duncan contracted the disease in his home country of Liberia after neighbors said he helped take a woman dying of Ebola to the hospital. Officials have said Duncan did not disclose having contact with an Ebola patient before he flew to Dallas to visit family members.
The D.C. Department of Health said Thursday that so far there have been 12 patients who have been presented with Ebola-like symptoms in their jurisdiction, and all of them have been cleared.
D.C. Department of Health Director Dr. Joxel Garcia said every hospital in the District is fully prepared to handle an Ebola patient, and there's no reason to panic. He said a task force is in place to monitor other jurisdictions and determine best practices.
The District is not requiring schools to ask students about their travel to West Africa, Garcia said, adding that they don't want to create a stigma for people traveling to Africa.
On Thursday, Dulles International Airport began temperature screenings for travelers coming from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in West Africa. Passengers are also being asked about exposure to anyone sick in conjunction with their temperature being taken with no-touch thermometers.
Airport officials expect to screen 15 to 55 people per day.
Several other airports have implemented similar screenings.
A second nurse who also cared for Duncan at the Dallas hospital tested positive for Ebola days after Pham. Amber Joy Vinson, 29, has been transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
Vinson is being treated in the special isolation unit where three other American Ebola patients have been treated, the hospital said Wednesday night. Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were both successfully treated and discharged, and a third unidentified American still being treated there.
NBC5 contributed to this report.