Sept 3 Smiling and appearing robustly healthy, a
U.S. missionary infected with Ebola while working in Liberia on
Wednesday shared publicly her battle with the deadly virus for
the first time.
Nancy Writebol, 59, of Charlotte, North Carolina, has been
recovering in an undisclosed location since her release last
month from an Atlanta hospital that also treated another
missionary who contracted the often lethal virus.
She told reporters there were mornings when she woke up and
thought with surprise, "I'm alive."
"I thought whether I live or whether I die, it's going to be
okay. It's going to be okay," she said, speaking at times
through tears about her recovery at the Charlotte headquarters
of the Christian organization that she worked with, SIM USA.
Still, "there were many times when I thought, 'I don't think
I am going to make it any more," she told reporters at the
group's Charlotte headquarters. "There were some very, very dark
On Tuesday, SIM USA said another U.S. doctor involved with
its mission in Liberia had contracted the disease. The group,
which has not disclosed the physician's name, is expected to
provide additional detail on Wednesday and has said the
physician is doing well and in good spirits.
Writebol's account of her illness comes as global health
officials warned that the most severe Ebola outbreak in history
appears to be worsening.
The outbreak has infected more than 3,000 people and killed
some 1,550 since it was first detected early this year in West
Africa, according to the World Health Organization.
For Writebol, her recovery involved a dramatic medical
journey that drew international attention as well as scrutiny
over treatment options.
After contracting the disease in Liberia in July, she was
flown back to the United States to receive care in an isolation
unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
She was also one of a few patients to receive an
experimental treatment, Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc's ZMapp,
although doctors at Emory said they could not determine whether
it made a difference in her recovery.
During the course of her illness, she endured "dark hours of
fear and loneliness," her husband has said, leaving the hospital
virus-free, but in weakened condition.
A mother of two, Writebol has been recuperating in an
undisclosed location with her husband, fellow missionary David
Writebol, who was also in Liberia but developed no symptoms.
She was treated at Emory with another U.S. missionary, Dr.
Kent Brantly, a Texas doctor who also received ZMapp and was
also released last month.
Brantly, who worked with another missionary group called
Samaritan's Purse, this week said he felt like he was going to
die during the throes of the illness but somehow recovered.
"I don't think there is anything special about me that made
God save my life," he told NBC News in an interview, which aired
late Tuesday and early Wednesday. "I survived. That is not to
say that for everybody else who died God was absent."
(Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Florida; Editing by Scott
Malone and Susan Heavey)