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Italy's first Ebola patient treated with experimental drug

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(Bloomberg) — A doctor who has become the first Italian to contract Ebola arrived in Rome today and is being treated with an experimental antiviral drug.

His condition is ’’stable,’’ doctor Emanuele Nicastri said at a press conference at Rome’s Lazzaro Spallanzani hospital where the patient is being treated. ’’He’s conscious and collaborating’’ with the medical team.

The 50-year-old doctor, who contracted the virus in Sierra Leone while working for the charity Emergency, was flown to Pratica di Mare military airport near Rome and taken to the Lazzaro Spallanzani institute in a special ambulance, according to an e-mailed statement from the Italian air force. The patient’s family has asked that his name not be given to the press.

Rome doctors also declined to give the name of the antiviral drug used for treatment, though they said the drug has been used before in the U.S. and Europe.

More than 15,000 people have been infected with Ebola and 5,420 have died, according to the World Health Organization. Almost all have been concentrated in West Africa, including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.