patient coming to U.S. as aid workers' health worsens
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[August 01, 2014]
By Julie Steenhuysen and Colleen Jenkins
CHICAGO/WINSTON-SALEM N.C. (Reuters) - A
U.S. aid worker who was infected with the deadly Ebola virus while
working in West Africa will be flown to the United States to be treated
in a high-security ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta,
hospital officials said on Thursday. The aid worker, whose name has not
been released, will be moved in the next several days to a special
isolation unit at Emory. The unit was set up in collaboration with the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said her agency was working with
the U.S. State Department to facilitate the transfer.
Reynolds said the CDC was not aware of any Ebola patient ever being
treated in the United States, but five people in the past decade
have entered the country with either Lassa Fever or Marburg Fever,
hemorrhagic fevers similar to Ebola.
News of the transfer follows reports of the declining health of two
infected U.S. aid workers, Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy
Writebol, who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia on behalf of
North Carolina-based Christian relief groups Samaritan's Purse and
CNN and ABC News reported that a second American infected with Ebola
was to be flown to the United States. CNN identified the U.S.-bound
patients as Brantly and Writebol. Reuters could not independently
confirm the reports.
Amber Brantly, the wife of Dr. Brantly, said in a statement: "I
remain hopeful and believing that Kent will be healed from this
Earlier on Thursday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the
State Department was working with the CDC on medical evacuations of
infected American humanitarian aid workers.
The outbreak in West Africa is the worst in history, having killed
more than 700 people since February. On Thursday, the CDC issued a
travel advisory urging people to avoid all non-essential travel to
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the epicenter of the outbreak.
Brantly and Writebol "were in stable but grave" condition as of
early Thursday morning, the relief organizations said. A spokeswoman
for the groups could not confirm whether the patient being
transferred to Emory was one of their aid workers.
CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a conference call that
transferring gravely ill patients has the potential to do more harm
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Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health plans in mid-September
to begin testing an experimental Ebola vaccine on people after
seeing encouraging results in pre-clinical trials on monkeys, Dr.
Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH's allergy and infectious diseases
unit, said in an email.
In its final stages, Ebola causes external and internal bleeding,
vomiting and diarrhea. About 60 percent of people infected in the
current outbreak are dying from the illness.
Writebol, 59, received an experimental drug doctors hope will
improve her health, SIM said. Brantly, 33, received a unit of blood
from a 14-year-old boy who survived Ebola with the help of Brantly's
medical care, said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse.
Frieden could not comment on the specifics of either treatment but
said: "We have reviewed the evidence of the treatments out there and
don't find any treatment that has proven effectiveness against
(Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and Eric M.
Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Will Dunham, Sandra Maler and Lisa
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