SAN FRANCISCO — A doctor who has treated 1,400 people with the Ebola virus says he’s now getting masks for 600 more.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales, told a news conference Thursday that he had received a call from a hospital in Sydney, where he was treating a patient who was diagnosed with Ebola.
The patient is in a stable condition, but he has a history of respiratory problems, Fauct said.
He said he had ordered the masks as part of a “crisis response” and that he hoped to have them delivered within the next few days.
Fauci said he is also receiving supplies of anti-malaria medication for the thousands of people who have been infected with the disease.
Dr. Fauccis has been working at the hospital since Friday, but had not been there during the day.
“The situation has changed significantly.
The virus has spread rapidly, and it’s difficult to provide critical services,” Faucci said.
The doctor has been traveling throughout the world, attending medical conferences, visiting hospitals, and visiting the homes of those who have contracted the disease, he said.
Faced with a severe shortage of equipment, doctors and nurses have been resorting to making their own masks, as well as creating their own personal protective gear for themselves and their families.
Faucets have been replaced by plastic plates to prevent bacteria from seeping into the masks, and faucets with special filters are also being used to prevent the spread of germs.
But the masks have not always been safe.
A British doctor who contracted Ebola while treating a woman in Liberia, known as Jane Doe, died last week.
He died after he was rushed to a nearby hospital in Sierra Leone.
Doctors and nurses working in the field in Sierra are struggling to cope with the sheer number of cases.
Faucci said he hopes to make a mask from the medical supplies he received at the airport, and he has been told by doctors at the Sydney hospital that they plan to start making more masks.
“It’s really a challenge, it’s really frustrating, it really makes you feel very, very, vulnerable,” he said of the outbreak.
“There is a very high risk of contracting the virus, and I just hope that I can provide my country with the necessary support to make this a safe and successful event.”