Ebola team shines in prestigious medical journal

by Vicky Cerino, UNMC public relations | February 25, 2016

Image with caption: Angela Hewlett, M.D.

Angela Hewlett, M.D.

A culmination of clinical information related to treating Ebola patients in the United States and Europe is now available to benefit others around the world.

The Feb. 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine -- one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world -- features data from each hospital in the U.S. and Europe who took care of Ebola patients.

Angela Hewlett, M.D., representing the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, was one of the authors of the paper.

"This is an important paper because members of the study team were able to obtain data from all of the patients with Ebola cared for in the United States and Europe and put it together so we can learn more about how to effectively treat this disease," said Dr. Hewlett, associate professor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center Division of Infectious Diseases and associate medical director of the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit.

She said one of the take home messages is that patients cared for in the U.S. and Europe were in very different environments than those in Africa.

"We were able to show that patients who receive supportive and critical care have reduced mortality compared to patients cared for in environments where that degree of care is not available," Dr. Hewlett said. "If we can get patients early in the disease process and take care of them with advanced medicine, there's a possibility of saving lives."

Dr. Hewlett said she was not surprised at the findings.

"When I looked at the results from other sites, it affirmed what we saw in our patients. At the time, there wasn't a lot of information about treating Ebola patients in resourced settings, such as what laboratory results would look like or how patients would react to treatment."

Over the past 18 months, she said the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit team has published multiple papers on a variety of topics related to Ebola and biocontainment, including clinical care, personal protective equipment, effective decontamination strategies, and other issues related to hospital preparedness.

Though she and the Ebola team have received a lot of international attention, Dr. Hewlett is excited about publishing in the journal.

"This article represents the efforts of many individuals at UNMC and all over the world. It also is my first article in the New England Journal of Medicine. I feel like framing it and putting it on my wall," she said.

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Angela Felton-Coleman
February 25, 2016 at 8:30 AM

Congratulations, Dr. Hewlett!