- POSTED: 06 Aug 2014 01:20
- UPDATED: 06 Aug 2014 01:40
An American woman infected with the dangerous Ebola virus - the second US patient evacuated from the growing outbreak in West Africa - arrived on Tuesday (August 5) in the United States for treatment.
WASHINGTON: An American woman infected with the dangerous Ebola virus - the second US patient evacuated from the growing outbreak in West Africa - arrived on Tuesday (August 5) in the United States for treatment.
After landing at a military air strip aboard a small medical evacuation plane, Nancy Writebol, 60, was transported by ambulance to Emory University Hospital. Television crews followed the ambulance by helicopter, and images showed a patient wrapped in a white protective suit and transported on a stretcher to the hospital entrance.
"As anticipated, a second American patient with Ebola virus has been transferred from an overseas location to a special isolation facility in Emory University Hospital for treatment," the hospital said.
The patient's colleague, missionary doctor Kent Brantly, 33, is also receiving care at a special containment unit at the same hospital. He arrived on Saturday and was able to climb out of the ambulance and walk into the facility.
Both Writebol and Brantly worked for Christian aid agencies in Liberia and were infected with Ebola while taking care of patients in Monrovia. The two Americans are among more than 1,600 people infected with the hemorrhagic fever in West Africa since March, marking the largest outbreak of Ebola in history.
A total of 887 people have died of the virus in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria, a 55 percent fatality rate of those known to be infected, according to the World Health Organization. The World Bank has pledged up to US$200 million to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to help those nations contain the outbreak.
Ebola is transmitted through close contact with bodily fluids, and people who live with or care for patients are most at risk. Experts say it is not transmissible by air.
There is no approved treatment or vaccine for Ebola, but both Writebol and Brantly received an experimental serum while they were in Liberia, their aid groups have said. "She's in a more weakened condition" than Brantly, Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA, told CNN on Monday.
Still, he expressed hope that bringing the two to the United States for treatment would help advance research into Ebola to address the crisis in West Africa.
Meanwhile, doctors in New York were running tests on a patient who was hospitalised with high fever symptoms similar to those of Ebola, which include vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and sometimes bleeding. The man had recently travelled to West Africa.
"Odds are this is not Ebola. It's much more likely it's a much more common condition," said Mount Sinai Hospital president David Reich, noting that testing and confirmation with the CDC in Atlanta would take 48 to 72 hours. He said the patient was promptly isolated and placed in a strict isolation facility.