An Ebola patient has landed in the U.S. from Liberia. The plane carrying the infected person touched down Saturday morning at the Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, Georgia. The media has been abuzz over this pending arrival, and curiosity regarding the identity of the patient has peaked. Until today, it was unknown who this person was, as his identity had been cleverly masked over with updates and details about the deadly virus. Now, however, the mysterious Ebola patient coming to the U.S. has been revealed to be American doctor, Kent Brantly.
Social media outlets like Facebook are alive with active, heated debate. People are expressing their opinions and thoughts on both sides, and arguing whether or not bringing the doctor to the U.S. was a smart decision. While one side is encouraging, saying that he deserves to come home and receive extra treatment, opponents are viciously firing back that the U.S. will surely have an outbreak now that the virus is on American soil.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remains steadfast in their opinion that the U.S. is not at risk for an outbreak, pointing to extra measures that have been taken to protect the doctors who will be treating Dr. Brantly and the facility where he will be staying. Full-body hazmat suits, gloves, boots and goggles are ready and waiting. Doctors at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, are prepared to welcome the Ebola patient into their specially equipped isolation unit and give him the treatment he requires.
The 33-year-old doctor was first exposed to Ebola in June while doing charity work in Liberia with the organization Samaritan’s Purse. By mid-July, Brantly was showing symptoms of the disease. Despite the treatment he received in West Africa, his condition deteriorated, prompting the U.S. to evacuate him and fly him home for more extensive care. He is the first Ebola-infected patient ever to come home to the U.S., sparking arguments from concerned citizens across the country.
His coworker, missionary Nancy Writebol, will soon become the second, as the State Department is currently working to evacuate her from West Africa and bring her home as well. Her organization, SIM, has reported her condition as still serious but stable. When she arrives, she will be placed at the same site as Brantly. There are no specific arrival details for her at this time, other than “within the coming days.”
Dr. Bruce Ribner of Emory University Hospital has declared that he is unafraid to be in regular contact with Dr. Brantly. He has assured and reassured the public that the patient will be placed in the hospital’s secure containment unit, away from the rest of the hospital, and that the proper measures have been taken to prevent further spread of the virus. He says that everything about the transportation process and Brantly’s treatment is safe and will be done under very strict, hygienic measures.
“…I have no concern about either my personal health or the health of the other health care workers,” Ribner said. “We have taken every precaution we know.” Doctors, nurses and sub-specialists will be available at all times if anything should happen and more care should be required. The hospital is taking the cases of the Ebola patients and their safety very seriously.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the current death toll of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has gone beyond 729, and more than 1,300 infections have been reported. Now that Dr. Brantly’s identity as the Ebola patient coming to the U.S. has been revealed, international health officials have turned their focus to preparing an emergency entrance into the infected countries. The CDC is optimistic and confident that they will be able to treat Ebola, and eventually stamp it out completely.
By Rachel Roddy