University of Nebraska Medical Center

Clinical Capabilities

Nebraska Biocontainment Unit

This 10-bed unit has been operational since 2005 and cared for three patients infected with Ebola during the 2014 outbreak, as well as COVID-19 patients in 2020. The Nebraska Biocontainment Unit features negative-air flow with a HEPA air filtration system, a pressurized entrance and decontamination autoclaves to ensure security and safety for both staff and community. The NBU has an on-site lab, and is in close proximity to the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory. It was one of three go-to sites nationwide for the U.S. Department of State in 2014, and now serves as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region VII Ebola and other Special Pathogen Treatment Center (RESPTC). The Nebraska Biocontainment Unit team is an all-volunteer, interdisciplinary group that has been hailed internationally for its bravery and professionalism. When, in 2014, many were fearful of treating patients with Ebola, this team relied on its specialized training while setting the global standard in best practices for dealing with high-consequence infections. President Barack Obama praised the team for delivering “world-class care.” The team continues its ongoing training regimen.


National Quarantine Unit

The National Quarantine Unit, the nation’s only federal quarantine facility, is located in the new Dr. Edwin G. & Dorothy Balbach Davis Global Center at UNMC. Part of the national Training, Simulation and Quarantine Center (TSQC), this 20-bed facility will be the primary destination for people exposed to high-consequence infections. UNMC and Nebraska Medicine have extensive experience in quarantine and monitoring of patients with possible exposure to high-consequence infections – including during the 2020 COVID-19 oubreak, and in 2018 and 2015, when U.S. health care workers experienced high-risk exposure to Ebola.


Nebraska Public Health Laboratory

Located on the UNMC campus, the Nebraska Public Health Lab is the result of a collaboration between UNMC, Nebraska Medicine, and Nebraska’s state Department of Health and Human Services. The biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) lab became the first state public health laboratory in the U.S. to test specimens that were positive for the Ebola virus, and played a key role in the successful biocontainment care of two Ebola-infected patients in 2014. The lab was integrally involved in testing for COVID-19 in 2020.