WASHINGTON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Nina Pham, the first Texas nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola after treating a Liberian man at a Dallas hospital, is being moved to the National Institutes of Health outside Washington, the agency said on Thursday.
Pham, who was being cared for at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, will be transferred to an isolation unit at Bethesda, Maryland-based NIH on Thursday evening, NIH's Dr. Anthony Fauci told lawmakers at a congressional hearing on the handling of the virus in the United States.
"We will be supplying her with state-of-the-art care in our high-level containment facilities," testified Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH. He later said her condition was thought to be stable.
NIH, located in a suburb of the nation's capital, has one of four specialized units to handle such biohazard infectious diseases like Ebola. It has two available such beds, and Pham will now have one of them, Fauci told lawmakers.
In a statement, NIH said Pham would be admitted later on Thursday to its Clinical Center's Special Clinical Studies Unit to be treated by infectious disease and critical care experts. It gave no other details about Pham or her condition.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital requested the transfer, NIH said.
The move would be the first known Ebola case to be handled in Maryland. NIH earlier cared for a patient under observation for possibly having the virus who was later released.
"NIH is taking every precaution to ensure the safety of NIH patients, staff, and the public," NIH said in its statement.
The other nurse who contracted Ebola after helping to treat Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan at the hospital before he died Oct. 8 has also been transferred from the Dallas facility. Amber Vinson was sent on Wednesday night to Atlanta's Emory University Hospital, which also has a specialized isolation unit and has handled other Ebola cases from U.S. patients returning from West Africa.
A Dallas county official earlier on Thursday told MSNBC that local officials wanted to keep room open Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in order to handle more possible cases. (Reporting by Mohammad Zargham and Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu)