Monday, August 4, 2014

US Atlanta Doctors Gear Up To Treat Two Ebola Patients

Health workers prepare to bury a woman who died of the Ebola in Foya, Liberia, in July. Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA /LANDOV
A medical transport plane was en route to pick up two Americans sick with Ebola in Liberia, doctors in Atlanta said Friday.

Atlanta Hospital Prepares To Treat 2 Ebola Patients

This will be the first time doctors will treat somebody for Ebola outbreak in the U.S, they said.

Both people caught the virus while treating patients in the largest and deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. More than 700 people have died in West Africa from Ebola since March.

The aid workers will fly to Atlanta in planes equipped with isolation tents, called Aeromedical Biological Containment Systems. Then they will be treated in a special unit at the Emory University Hospital.

"The first one [patient] will come in the next several days," Dr. Bruce Ribner, who directs the hospital's infectious diseases unit, said at a press conference. "A second patient will be coming a few days after that."

Both patients are in stable condition, Ribner said. He wouldn't give out their names, but he said the Christian aid group Samaritan's Purse had reached out to the hospital for help.

Last weekend, Samaritan's Purse said that two of their aid workers had caught Ebola while helping patients in Monrovia, Liberia. Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, is a general physician trained in Forth Worth, Texas, while Nancy Writebol, 59, is a missionary from Charlotte, N.C.

Writebol also works for the charity group SIM. "SIM's understanding is that they're both going to Emory," a spokesperson for the charity told NPR about Writebol and Brantly.

So why bring these people back to the U.S. when they can get treatment in Liberia?
"We feel they deserve to have the highest level of care offered for their treatment," Ribner said.

"They have gone on a humanitarian mission. They have become infected through medical care. ... We have the environment and expertise to safely care for these patients and offer them the maximum opportunity for recovery from these infections."

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