The second American aid worker diagnosed with Ebola in West Africa arrived in the Atlanta area for treatment Tuesday and was taken on a stretcher into Emory University Hospital.
Nancy Writebol was brought in a jet to Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga., about 11:25 a.m. Tuesday. It taxied to a spot outside a large hangar, where it remained shortly before noon.
She will be treated in an isolation unit where Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, who was a resident at JPS Hospital in Fort Worth, also is undergoing treatment.
Writebol is weak but shows signs of improvement, said Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA, the aid group with which she was working. Johnson said he had spoken with her husband, David Writebol, about her condition.
“A week ago, we were thinking about making funeral arrangements for Nancy,” David Writebol said in a statement read by Johnson at a news conference. “Now we have a real reason to be hopeful.”
Brantly’s wife, Amber, released this statement Tuesday afternoon:
“I have been able to see Kent every day, and he continues to improve. I am thankful for the professionalism and kindness of Dr. [Bruce] Ribner and his team at Emory University Hospital. I know that Kent is receiving the very best medical treatment available.
“I am also thrilled to see that Nancy arrived safely in Atlanta today. Our families are united in our faith in Jesus, and we will walk through this recovery time together.
“Please continue to pray for Kent, Nancy and the people of Liberia.”
Brantly, 33, who is with North Carolina-based Samaritan’s Purse, arrived in Atlanta Saturday and walked, with assistance, into the hospital.
Both he and Writebol contracted Ebola while treating patients in Liberia.
A spokeswoman for Samaritan’s Purse said Monday evening Brantly no longer wants his condition and treatment shared for privacy reasons.
Ebola has killed at least 887 people in four West African countries in what is considered one of the largest outbreaks ever.
Both Americans received an experimental serum, and both are improving, although it’s impossible to know whether the treatment is the reason or they are recovering on their own.
According to a statement, Emory University Hospital’s isolation unit is inspected each year by members of the World Health Organization and CDC to ensure it is up to their rigorous standards.
The unit is a negative pressure unit, which means air inside it goes from the hallway to a preparation room and then to the patient room, according to Emory’s website. Then the air is HEPA filtered and monitored 24 hours a day to make sure the airflow is always maintained.
Everything that comes out of the unit is autoclaved to kill all infectious viruses and then sent for incineration.
A statement released Tuesday from the hospital reiterates that “Ebola does not pose a significant risk to the U.S. public.”