A doctor with Boone-based Samaritan’s Purse infected with the Ebola virus while treating patients in Liberia arrived in Atlanta for treatment on Saturday.
Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, was aboard a specially equipped medical evacuation plane that landed at Dobbins Air Force base at 11:20 a.m. He was taken to Emory University Hospital which has a sophisticated isolation unit set up in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham said Saturday that Brantly was in a “little better shape for travel” than a second Ebola patient, Charlotte missionary Nancy Writebol, 59. She remains in stable condition and is expected to arrive in Atlanta within the next few days.
Writebol and her husband, David, are members of Calvary Church in Charlotte. Brantly and his family live in Texas.
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In a release, Graham said, “We thank God that they area alive and now have access to the best care in the world. We are extremely thankful for the help we have received from the State Department, the CDC, the National Institute of Health and, of course, Emory Hospital.”
The Associated Press reported that Brantly’s arrival marked the first time anyone infected with the incurable virus, considered one of the world’s deadliest, has been brought into the country. U.S. officials are confident the patients with the virus can be treated without putting the public in danger, the AP reported.
Ebola begins with fever, headache and weakness that can be followed by vomiting, diarrhea and kidney and liver problems. Sometimes, patients bleed internally and externally.
The AP reported that Brantly’s wife, Amber, and their two children, 3 and 5, had left Liberia for a wedding in the U.S. just days before her husband fell ill and quarantined himself. Last week, in a statement, she said they were fine and were staying with family in Abilene, Texas.
Samaritan’s Purse confirmed Friday the evacuations of Brantly and Writebol along with 60 nonessential Samaritan’s Purse and SIM (Serving in Mission) staff and dependents in Liberia.
SIM, a Charlotte-based missionary group, partners with the Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse and sent Writebol and her husband to Liberia.
Although nonessential SIM personnel are leaving Liberia, SIM announced, the group is sending another of its doctors to care for Ebola patients at its treatment center in Monrovia.
According to a release from SIM on Saturday, David Writebol will travel back to the U.S. in the next several days and will stay in Atlanta to be near his wife.
The Rev. John Munro, pastor of Calvary Church, said Saturday that Nancy Writebol “appears to be holding her own.”
He said she has eaten a little food and occasionally got up to go to the restroom.
“That’s very encouraging,” Munro said. “We realize this is very serious and it’s day by day. We’re very thankful for the people caring for her.”
He said a special prayer for Writebol will be offered during church services on Sunday.