Ebola patient, Nancy Writebol, the second American diagnosed with the deadly disease is confirmed to be in Atlanta. Writebol, a Samaritan’s Purse missionary, was aiding medical workers in Liberia when she contracted the virus. The agency has worked with officials, in the U.S., to have the woman airlifted out of the Ebola stricken country. She will receive treatment for the virus at the Emory University Hospital, in Atlanta, GA, which has a special isolation unit, that is affiliated with the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
People have expressed fears over the two infected Americans being brought into the country, but officials from the CDC have issued several statements saying, there is no cause for concern. The two patients being treated in the U.S. were sealed in an isolation capsule during their transportation and photos of the infected Ebola patients show them being wheeled into the isolation unit, by workers in biohazard suits. There is no cure for the deadly disease, but the patients received an experimental serum and will receive ongoing supportive care, while they fight the infection.
Writebol was the second confirmed American to have contracted the Ebola virus and later airlifted to Atlanta. The first, was 33-year-old, Samaritan’s Purse doctor, Kent Brantly. Dr. Brantly was the head of the center, where Writebol was working, when she became infected. The charity released an official statement, saying that all protocols were followed diligently at the Ebola treatment center, in Liberia, Africa and they are unsure how the two missionaries contracted the deadly virus.
Writebol was disinfecting healthcare workers as they exited the “hot zone,” when she contracted the disease. Her job was to spray the workers down with a chlorine disinfectant, as they removed their contaminated protective clothing, layer by layer.
Samaritan’s Purse was the only outside agency lending help to the people of Liberia at the time and they were inundated with patients, as containment of the disease spiraled out of control. The current outbreak is the largest on record, since the virus was first identified, in 1976. There is no FDA approved drug for treatment of those diagnosed with the disease, but the two patients received an experimental “serum” before leaving Liberia and Dr. Brantly received a second dose, after arriving in Atlanta. It is unclear if Writebol will receive another dose, of the experimental drug, or how many doses a patient is believed to need.
The president of Samaritan’s Purse stated that Writebol was feeling a bit better before she left Liberia and was able to eat a small amount of food. Ebola patients that survive have a long road to recovery. Some survivors have reported having debilitating symptoms that keep them from working and living normal lives, even after almost a decade. Many survivors report having severe headaches, poor eyesight, problems breathing, enlarged organs, and other serious side effects.
The virus ravages the bodies of those infected, causing significant pain. Information about the exact stage of illness the two Americans are in has not been released. However, a friend and former colleague issued a statement, on behalf of Dr. Brantly, saying the doctor was “terrified” and in grave condition, while he was in Liberia. More recent reports stated that the doctor has shown some improvements.
Dr. Brantly and Nancy Writebol, the second American diagnosed with the Ebola virus, have a long and arduous road ahead of them while being treated, at Emory University Hospital, in Atlanta. It is uncertain if either will survive the virus, but both will remain in the isolation unit of the hospital for the duration of their illness. Officials have stated emphatically, that there is no cause for concern over the Ebola patients being brought to the U.S. for treatment.
By Amy Gilmore