5 August 2014

Liberia: Ebola Infected American Missionary Flown Out of Liberia

Photo: Boakai Fofana/AllAfrica
Women volunteers pray against Ebola while distributing fliers to passersby and asking them to wash their hands.

A U.S. missionary who contracted Ebola has been evacuated from Liberia aboard a special medical flight. Nancy Writebol was flown out of Monrovia Tuesday and is expected to arrive in the United States later Tuesday. She will be treated at Emory University Hospital in the southeastern U.S. city of Atlanta alongside an American doctor who also contracted the deadly virus while treating patients in Liberia.

The Christian charity Samaritan's Purse said Kent Brantly received a dose of an experimental serum before leaving Liberia, and also received blood from a 14-year-old boy who had survived Ebola under his care.

Meanwhile, a New York City hospital reported it is testing a man with possible symptoms of the Ebola virus. Officials at Mount Sinai Medical Center said a man suffering from a high fever and gastrointestinal problems arrived at the emergency room early Monday and was quickly isolated. They say the patient recently traveled to a West African country where Ebola has been reported, and is now undergoing tests to determine the cause of his illness. No other details about the man were given.

Earlier Monday, the World Health Organization released new figures on the Ebola virus, reporting dozens of new fatalities in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It said the total number of cases across four West African countries stands at 1,603, including 887 people who have died.

Authorities in Nigeria Monday reported the country's second confirmed case of Ebola -- a doctor who treated the first patient who died July 25 in Lagos. Nigerian officials said at least two other health professionals are also showing symptoms of the disease.

Also Monday, the World Bank said it would provide up to $200 million to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to help those countries contain the outbreak. World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said he is very worried that more lives are at risk unless the epidemic is contained.

While there is currently no cure or vaccine for Ebola, Anthony Fauci of the U.S. National Institutes of Health said a vaccine is being developed and could soon go to trial. Fauci spoke Monday on the TV program CBS This Morning.

Tom Frieden, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, says a widespread outbreak of Ebola in the United States is not likely because of better infection controls at American hospitals and more cautious burial procedures than in Africa.

Ebola is spread through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected persons. Typical symptoms of Ebola include fever, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding from the eyes, ears, mouth and nose.

Death rates from the virus historically have gone as high as 90 percent, but the death rate from the current outbreak is closer to 60 percent.

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