Tue, Jul 29, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Second US medic in Liberia has Ebola

STABLE BUT SERIOUS:Nancy Writebol had been working as a hygienist at a medical center near Monrovia, while the other US patient is the medical director of the center

AP, BOONE, North Carolina

Kent Brantly, right, a doctor with Samaritan’s Purse relief organization, is shown in an undated handout photograph, wearing protective equipment as he gives orders for medication for Ebola patients through the doorway of the isolation unit at the case management center on the campus of ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. Brantly tested positive for Ebola on Saturday last week.

Photo: Reuters / Samaritan’s Purse

A second US worker at a West African hospital has been infected with the Ebola virus, an aid group said, amid what the WHO is calling the largest outbreak ever recorded of the disease.

Nancy Writebol tested positive at the same medical compound in Liberia where a US doctor became infected, said Ken Isaacs, vice president of program and government relations with US-based Christian relief group Samaritan’s Purse.

“It’s been a shock to everyone on our team to have two of our players get pounded with the disease,” Isaacs said on Sunday.

Writebol had been working as a hygienist who decontaminated those entering and leaving the hospital’s Ebola care area, he said.

Both Writebol and Kent Brantly, the 33-year-old medical director at the center on the outskirts of the Liberian capital, Monrovia, have been isolated and are under intensive treatment, Isaacs said.

Brantly was in stable and in very serious condition, and Writebol was in stable and serious condition, he said.

Writebol’s husband, David, told an elder in the church via Skype on Saturday that she was very sick and he could not even enter the same room with her, according to the Reverend John Munro, pastor of Calvary Church in North Carolina.

The church has sponsored her work with Serving in Mission, which runs the hospital where Samaritan’s Purse has the Ebola care center.

“We are hopeful and prayerful,” Isaacs said by telephone.

Ebola virus is one of the most deadly diseases in the world. The WHO says this outbreak has killed more than 670 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone since it began this year.

There is no known cure for Ebola, which begins with symptoms including fever and sore throat, and escalates to vomiting, diarrhea and internal and external bleeding.

Health workers are at serious risk of contracting the disease, which spreads through contact with bodily fluids.

Early treatment improves a patient’s chances of survival, and Brantly recognized his own symptoms and began receiving care immediately, said Melissa Strickland, a spokeswoman for Samaritan’s Purse.

Brantly received intensive treatment on Sunday at a hospital in Monrovia and was talking to his medical team and working on his computer, Strickland said.

“We are hopeful, but he is certainly not out of the woods yet,” Strickland said.

The WHO says the disease is not contagious until a person begins to show symptoms.

Munro said some church members had offered several months ago to pay to fly the Writebols back to the US because of the Ebola outbreak, but they refused because they felt God had called them to work there.

“These are real heroes — people who do things quietly behind the scenes, people with a very strong vocation and very strong faith,” Munro said.

A government official on Sunday said that one of Liberia’s most high-profile doctors has died of Ebola. Samuel Brisbane was the first Liberian doctor to die in the outbreak.

A Ugandan doctor working in Liberia died earlier this month.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top