Two men in protective clothing exit an ambulance outside
Emory University hospital in Atlanta, Georgia where an
American aid worker infected with the Ebola virus will
receive treatment. REUTERS/11 Alive Atlanta
An American aid worker infected with the deadly Ebola
virus while in Liberia has arrived in the United States from
West Africa and was able to walk from an ambulance into an
Atlanta hospital for treatment in a special isolation unit.
A chartered medical aircraft carrying Dr. Kent Brantly
touched down at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta,
Georgia, shortly before noon. Brantly was driven by
ambulance, with police escort, to Emory University Hospital
in Atlanta for treatment in a specially equipped room.
Television news footage showed the ambulance stop outside the
hospital, and three people in white biohazard suits stepped
gingerly out of the vehicle.
Two of them walked into the building, one seeming to lean on
the other for support. A hospital spokesman confirmed that
Brantly walked into the building under his own power.
Dr. Jay Varkey, an infectious disease specialist at Emory,
said he could not comment on a treatment plan until Brantly
had been evaluated. Since there is no known cure, standard
procedures, according to the World Health Organization, are
to provide hydration with solutions containing electrolytes
or intravenous fluids.
Brantly works for the North Carolina-based Christian
organization Samaritan's Purse. A second infected member of
the group, missionary Nancy Writebol, will be brought to the
United States on a later flight, as the medical aircraft is
equipped to carry only one patient at a time.
Brantly and Writebol were helping respond to the worst West
African Ebola outbreak on record when they contracted the
disease. Since February, more than 700 people in the region
have died from the infection.
BRANTLY A FATHER OF TWO
"We thank God that they are alive and now have access to the
best care in the world," Franklin Graham, president of
Samaritan's Purse, said in a statement.
Despite concern among some in the United States over bringing
Ebola patients to the country, health officials have said
there is no risk to the public.
The facility at Emory, set up with the US Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, is one of only four in the country
with the facilities to deal with such cases. It is separate
from other patient areas, providing a high level of clinical
"We have a specially designed unit, which is highly
contained. We have highly trained personnel who know how to
safely enter the room of a patient who requires this form of
isolation," Bruce Ribner, an infectious disease specialist at
Emory, said Friday.
The plane used to bring Brantly to the United States was
equipped with a plastic isolation tent, a medical bed,
intravenous lines and monitoring equipment, according to
images provided by the CDC, which called the set-up an
Aeromedical Biological Containment System.
Ebola is a hemorrhagic virus with a death rate of up to 90
percent of those who become infected; the fatality rate in
the current epidemic is about 60 percent.
Brantly is a 33-year-old father of two young children.
Writebol is a 59-year-old mother of two.
CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said this week that the
agency was not aware of any Ebola patient ever being treated
in the United States previously. But five people in the past
decade have entered the country with either Lassa Fever or
Marburg Fever, hemorrhagic fevers that are similar to Ebola.
The two Americans will be treated primarily by a team of four
infectious disease physicians. The patients will be able to
see loved ones through a plate-glass window and speak to them
by phone or intercom.
"There is a little bit of worry," Jenny Kendrix, 46, said of
having the Ebola virus patient brought to the same hospital
where her husband is being treated for cancer.
But 52-year-old Ernie Surunis, at the hospital for a pharmacy
conference, said he was not bothered.
"We can't leave them (in Africa) to die. They went over to
help other people," he said.