News

Second American Ebola patient arrives at Atlanta hospital

Second American Ebola patient arrives at Atlanta hospital

EBOLA: Medical workers roll patient Nancy Writebol into Emory University Hospital in Atlanta Georgia, Aug. 5. Photo: Reuters/John Spink/Atlanta Journal Constitution

By Rich McKay

ATLANTA (Reuters) – An American missionary stricken with Ebola in West Africa wore a protective white suit on Tuesday as she was wheeled on a stretcher into the Atlanta hospital where doctors will try to save her and a fellow aid worker from the deadly virus.

Nancy Writebol, 59, arrived in the United States after being flown overnight from Liberia and will be treated by infectious disease specialists at Emory University Hospital, 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 was able to walk into the hospital when he arrived by ambulance on Saturday.

The pair, who served on a joint team in Monrovia run by Christian aid groups SIM USA and Samaritan’s Purse, are believed to be the first Ebola patients treated in the United States.

“We are tremendously relieved that our mother is back in the U.S.,” Jeremy Writebol, one of the missionary’s two sons, said in a statement.

Health officials have said the virus does not pose a significant threat to the American public.

There is no proven cure for the contagious hemorrhagic disease, which has killed nearly 900 people in Africa since February in the worst Ebola outbreak on record. The death rate in the current epidemic is about 60 percent, experts say.

The relief groups have said the condition of each aid worker improved in Liberia after the pair received an experimental drug developed by a San Diego-based private biotech firm and previously tested only in monkeys.

Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA, said he did not know if Writebol and Brantly would get more of the drug at Emory, and representatives for Samaritan’s Purse and the hospital declined to comment on specific treatments.

Brantly’s wife said she had seen him every day in Atlanta and that he continued to improve.

“I know that Kent is receiving the very best medical treatment available,” Amber Brantly said in a statement.

TESTS IN OHIO, NEW YORK

Writebol and Brantly returned to the United States separately because the plane equipped to transport them could carry only one patient at a time. Johnson said doctors in Liberia made the decision to send Brantly home first.

The plane carrying Writebol landed Tuesday at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia, where she was transferred to an ambulance and taken to the hospital. The two paramedics who transported Writebol into the hospital also wore white, full-body biohazard suits to avoid any direct contact with her.

Johnson said it was still unknown how Writebol contracted Ebola. A longtime missionary from Charlotte, North Carolina, Writebol 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 low survival rate for Ebola patients had her sons and husband, David, a fellow missionary in Liberia, thinking about funeral plans just a week ago, Johnson said.

“Now we have a real reason to be hopeful,” Johnson said David Writebol told him.

Plans are being made to fly David Writebol to Atlanta to be with his wife, Johnson said.

Costs for the care and transportation of Writebol and Brantly have topped $2 million, with about $1 million spent by SIM USA and more than $1 million by Samaritan’s Purse, Johnson said.

Writebol’s arrival came as health officials in New York and Ohio said they had run tests for Ebola on two people who had traveled recently to West Africa.

A man who arrived on Monday at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City with a high fever and stomach ache was stable and unlikely to have Ebola, the hospital said. He remained in isolation on Tuesday.

A 46-year-old Columbus, Ohio, woman also was tested for Ebola after showing signs of illness but the results came back negative for the virus, Columbus public health officials said.

In a scare at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, federal health authorities were alerted when a sick passenger arrived on a flight from Abu Dhabi, but the passenger was found to be suffering from seizures and not Ebola, according to TV station CBS New York.

(Reporting by Rich McKay; Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg and Sharon Begley in New York, Kim Palmer in Cleveland, Ohio, and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Scott Malone, Doina Chiacu and Eric Beech)

Recent Headlines

in National

Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2014, file photo, Amanda Knox prepares to leave the set following a television interview in New York. Knox is engaged to Colin Sutherland, a musician who recently moved to Seattle from New York, a person close to the Knox family confirmed for The Associated Press. Knox’s murder conviction in the 2007 stabbing of her roommate has been reinstated by an Italian court, but the former college exchange student maintains her innocence and vows she won’t willingly go back to Italy. Both Knox and Sutherland are 27. No wedding date had been set.

Italy's highest court has overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case.

in National

Time for Iran to make tough decisions in nuclear talks

In this March 26, 2015, photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, leaves a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials at a hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. U.S. and Iranian diplomats gather at a Baroque palace in Europe, a historic nuclear agreement within reach. Over Iraq’s deserts, their militaries fight a common foe. Leaders in Washington and Tehran, capitals once a million miles from each other in ideological terms, wrestle for the first time in decades with the notion of a rapprochement.

Six world powers and Iran move closer to a deal, but there are still major disagreements.

in Sports

This week’s top sports shots

AP564917773040_12

A look at some of the biggest plays and best photos in sports this week.

in Sports

This weekend’s sports schedule

playball

A look at some of this weekend's biggest sporting events.

in National

Making headlines this week

AP193442892434_0

A look at some of the week's biggest headlines and the stories you may have missed.