Second Ebola patient arrives at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment
By Rich McKay
ATLANTA (Reuters) – A plane carrying a second American aid worker infected with Ebola in West Africa arrived on Tuesday at an air base outside of Atlanta, the city where she will be hospitalized as doctors try to save her and a colleague from the deadly virus.
Missionary Nancy Writebol, 59, left Liberia on Monday in a medical aircraft that made a brief stop Tuesday morning to refuel at Bangor International Airport in Maine, television station WCSH of Portland, Maine, reported.
The plane arrived at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia at about 11:30 a.m. EDT(1530 GMT), local television footage showed.
Writebol will be treated by infectious disease specialists at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, according to Christian missionary group SIM USA. She will be in the same isolation ward as Kent Brantly, 33, an Ebola-infected American doctor who arrived on Saturday.
Writebol and Brantly are believed to be the first Ebola patients ever treated in the United States.
The disease, concentrated in Africa, has killed nearly 900 people since February and has no proven cure. The death rate in the current epidemic is about 60 percent, experts say.
Writebol and Brantly served on a joint team in Monrovia run by Christian aid groups SIM USA and Samaritan’s Purse. They returned to the United States separately because the plane equipped to transport them could carry only one patient at a time.
Writebol, a mother of two from Charlotte, North Carolina, is a longtime missionary who had been working for SIM USA as a hygienist who decontaminated protective suits worn by healthcare workers inside an isolation unit at a Monrovia treatment center.
The condition of the two aid workers both improved by varying degrees in Liberia after they received an experimental drug previously tested only on monkeys, a representative for Samaritan’s Purse said.
Writebol’s arrival in Atlanta came a day after Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City said it was testing a man who traveled to a West African nation where Ebola has been reported. He arrived at the emergency room on Monday with a high fever and a stomach ache but was in good condition, hospital officials said.
The New York City Health Department, after consulting with the hospital and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement on Monday evening that the patient was unlikely to have Ebola.
The hospital said it had no updated information on test results early on Tuesday.
(Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Writing by Eric M. Johnson and Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Bill Trott)