(Adds details on doctor from MTI charity, paragraphs 13-14)
By Rich McKay
ATLANTA Aug 3 An American doctor stricken with
the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia and brought to the
United States for treatment in a special isolation ward is
improving, the top U.S. health official said on Sunday.
Dr. Kent Brantly was able to walk, with help, from an
ambulance after he was flown on Saturday to Atlanta, where he is
being treated by infectious disease specialists at Emory
"It's encouraging that he seems to be improving - that's
really important - and we're hoping he'll continue to improve,"
said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.
Frieden told CBS's "Face the Nation" it was too soon to
predict whether Brantly would survive, and a hospital spokesman
said Emory did not expect to provide any updates on the doctor's
condition on Sunday.
Brantly is a 33-year-old father of two young children who
works for the North Carolina-based Christian organization,
Samaritan's Purse. He was in Liberia responding to the worst
Ebola outbreak on record when he contracted the disease.
Since February, more than 700 people in West Africa have
died from Ebola, a hemorrhagic virus with a death rate of up to
90 percent of those infected. The fatality rate in the current
epidemic is about 60 percent.
Frieden told ABC's "This Week" that the CDC was "surging"
its response, and that it will send 50 staff to West Africa "to
help stop the outbreak in the next 30 days."
Amber Brantly, Dr. Brantly's wife, said she was able to see
her husband on Sunday and he was in good spirits, and that the
family is confident he is receiving the very best care. "He
thanked everyone for their prayers," she said in a statement.
A second U.S. aid worker who contracted Ebola alongside him,
missionary Nancy Writebol, will be brought to the United States
on a later flight. The medical aircraft is equipped to carry
only one patient at a time.
Standard treatment for the disease is to provide supportive
care. In Atlanta, doctors will try to maintain blood pressure
and support breathing, with a respirator if needed, or provide
dialysis if patients experience kidney failure, as some Ebola
SECOND MISSIONARY EXPECTED SOON
Writebol, a 59-year-old mother of two who worked to
decontaminate those entering and leaving an Ebola isolation unit
in Liberia, was due to depart for the United States overnight on
Monday, Liberia's information minister said.
Writebol's husband, David, who had been living and working
in Liberia with his wife, was expected to travel home separately
in the next few days, their missionary organization, SIM USA,
said in a statement.
Separately, the charity Medical Teams International said one
of its doctors had placed himself in voluntary confinement after
returning to the United States from Liberia on July 25.
The doctor, Alan Jamison, worked in the same isolation units
as Brantly and Writebol, it said, adding that he has no symptoms
and that there was no evidence he was exposed to the virus.
The facility at Emory chosen to treat the two infected
Americans was set up with CDC and is one of four in the country
with the ability to handle such cases.
The CDC has said it is not aware of any Ebola patient having
been treated in the United States previously. Five people
entered the country in the past decade with either Lassa Fever
or Marburg, both hemorrhagic fevers similar to Ebola.
President Barack Obama has said some participants at an
Africa summit in Washington this week would be screened for
Ebola exposure. The CDC's Frieden said there was no reason to
cancel the event.
"There are 50 million travelers from around the world that
come to the U.S. each year ... We're not going to hermetically
seal this country," he told Fox News Sunday.
(Additional reporting by Emma Farge in Dakar; Writing by Doina
Chiacu and Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Frances Kerry, Sandra
Maler and Mohammad Zargham)