Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Ebola case doctor lands in Atlanta

A health official wearing a protective suit waits to screen arriving passengers at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos (AP)

The second American aid worker recently diagnosed with Ebola in west Africa landed near Atlanta today after a customs and refuelling stop in Maine.

The patient arrived in a chartered plane equipped to contain infectious diseases at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia. She will be taken to a specialised isolation unit at Emory University Hospital.

The plane took off at 1.12am local time from Monrovia, Liberia's capital. An Associated Press reporter saw the four-vehicle convoy arrive at the airport.

Although hospital officials have not released the second patient's identity, officials from SIM USA - the aid group for which she was working - have identified her as Nancy Writebol.

Ms Writebol remains in serious but stable condition, SIM said in a statement.

She had been in isolation at her home in Liberia since she was diagnosed last month and is able to walk with assistance, according to SIM president Bruce Johnson.

Ms Writebol, 59, and Dr Kent Brantly, 33, a physician with North Carolina-based Samaritan's Purse, have been described as critically ill after treating Ebola patients at a missionary clinic in Liberia.

The country is one of four west African nations dealing with the world's largest Ebola outbreak that has killed at least 887 people in four west African countries.

Ebola is spread by close contact with blood and other bodily fluids.

At the clinic, Ms Writebol's duties included disinfecting doctors and nurses entering or leaving the Ebola treatment area.

Her son, Jeremy Writebol, has said his parents have spent the past 15 years doing international humanitarian work and he hopes the attention focused on her case "might help develop a cure and resources to help those who are suffering".

In Nigeria, state health commissioner Jide Idris says seven people have Ebola symptoms and are in quarantine after primary contact with the man who flew to Lagos and died of the disease last month.

The news comes a day after officials confirmed that a doctor has tested positive for Ebola after treating the traveller.

Mr Idris said that others may have been infected in Lagos, a city of 21 million, before doctors suspected that Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer had Ebola.

They put him in isolation about 24 hours after he arrived at the hospital.

Mr Idris says the eight quarantined people are among 14 who had "serious direct contact" with Dr Sawyer, most of them at the hospital.

He said authorities are following the conditions of 70 people who had primary contact with Dr Sawyer.

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