Missionary Nancy Writebol, 59, is expected to arrive on Tuesday to
be treated by infectious disease specialists in a special isolation
ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, according to Christian
missionary group SIM USA.
Writebol took off from Liberia on Monday in a medical aircraft
headed to Atlanta, according to a Reuters witness in that country.
The mother of two from Charlotte, North Carolina, is a longtime
missionary who had been working for SIM USA as a hygienist tasked
with decontaminating protective suits worn by healthcare workers
inside an isolation unit at a Monrovia treatment center.
Her arrival was to come a day after as Mount Sinai Hospital in
Manhattan said it was testing a man who traveled to a West African
nation where Ebola has been reported. He arrived at the emergency
room in the morning on Monday with a high fever and a stomach ache,
but was in "good condition", hospital officials said.
The New York City Health Department, after consulting with the
hospital and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in
a statement on Monday evening that "the patient is unlikely to have
Ebola. Specimens are being tested for common causes of illness and
to definitively exclude Ebola."
The patient added to concerns about the disease, which has killed
nearly 900 people since February and has no proven cure. The death
rate in the current epidemic is about 60 percent, experts say.
Emory's specialists have since Saturday been treating 33-year-old
U.S. doctor Kent Brantly, who also returned home after being
stricken with Ebola during the emergency response to the worst Ebola
outbreak on record.
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Writebol and Brantly, believed to be the first Ebola patients ever
treated in the U.S., served on a joint team in Monrovia run by
Christian aid groups SIM USA and Samaritan's Purse. They are
returning separately because the plane equipped to transport them
can carry only one patient at a time.
The pair both saw their conditions improve by varying degrees in
Liberia after they received an experimental drug previously tested
only on monkeys, said a representative for Samaritan's Purse.
"Her husband told me Sunday her appetite has improved and she
requested one of her favorite dishes – Liberian potato soup – and
coffee," Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA, said in a statement.
(Additional reporting by Mark Felsenthal in Washington and Anna
Hiatt in New York; Writing by Eric M. Johnson)
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