Charlotte missionary Nancy Writebol is making progress; husband David relaxing in quarantine

08/13/2014 6:10 PM

08/14/2014 6:27 AM

Nancy Writebol, the Charlotte missionary who is being treated for Ebola virus infection in Atlanta, “continues to show signs of recovery,” according to her husband, David, who is under quarantine on the 90-acre campus of SIM USA, the Charlotte-based mission group that sponsored their work in Liberia.

“Each time I talk to her, her voice is clearer and brighter,” David Writebol said Wednesday.

“She’s still very weak. We’re not quite ready to say she’s out of the woods. But it’s moving in the right direction. From everything that I’m hearing, we’re making progress. I’m so thankful she’s in a place where she’s getting good care.”

Nancy Writebol, 59, who was diagnosed with Ebola on July 25, was evacuated from Liberia in a specially equipped plane earlier this month. She was taken to Emory University Hospital, where she joined Dr. Kent Brantly, the other U.S. missionary who contracted Ebola in Liberia. Both are being treated in an isolation unit at the hospital, near the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

David Writebol, 58, who arrived in Charlotte on Sunday on a private plane from Liberia, is healthy and showing no signs or symptoms of Ebola infection. He takes his temperature twice a day and checks in daily with a Mecklenburg County public health nurse by phone.

Ebola is not contagious unless a person has symptoms, such as fever or vomiting. The virus is not airborne like influenza; it is spread by contact with bodily fluids, such as blood and feces, from an infected person. The average incubation period, or time from first exposure to onset of symptoms, is eight to 10 days, but the longest reported time is 21 days.

On Tuesday, SIM announced David Writebol would speak in person to reporters Wednesday on the SIM campus in south Mecklenburg. After speaking with local health officials, those plans changed, and he spoke instead via videoconference.

Being in quarantine in the RV section of the campus is “like being in your favorite campground in the woods,” David Writebol said. “I’m feeling pretty good. I’m getting rest and enjoying a little bit of down time. It’s very comfortable.”

He’s quarantined along with two doctors who returned on the same plane Sunday and who had been exposed to patients with Ebola. They’re staying in recreational vehicles, as are two other SIM missionaries and six children who returned from Liberia more than a week ago. The latter group did not have direct contact with Ebola and are not under quarantine. But they are voluntarily distancing themselves from the public for 21 days.

David Writebol said he hopes to see his wife as soon as he completes his 21-day quarantine. When asked when that will be, he declined to be specific. “It will be a great day when we get back together,” he said.

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