Second Aid Worker Infected with Ebola Arrives in U.S. - News - @ JEMS.com


Second Aid Worker Infected with Ebola Arrives in U.S.

Emory University Hospital treating two infected patients

 

 
 
 

KATE BRUMBACK, Associated Press | | Tuesday, August 5, 2014


ATLANTA (AP) — An American aid worker infected with Ebola arrived Tuesday in Atlanta, joining a second patient being given an experimental treatment that has never before been tested on humans.

Nancy Writebol, 59, traveled from Monrovia, Liberia, to Emory University Hospital, just downhill from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She arrived two days after Kent Brantly, a doctor with whom she had worked in Liberia and who also contracted Ebola, showed up for treatment.

JEMS: Atlanta Hospital One of Safest for Ebola Care

The differences were stark in how they went from the ambulance to Emory, which has a highly specialized isolation unit. While Brantly, 33, was able to walk with assistance into the hospital, Writebol — covered from head to toe in a protective suit — was wheeled in on a stretcher.

Still, the 59-year-old Writebol was described as weak but showing signs of improvement.

"A week ago we were thinking about making funeral arrangements for Nancy," her husband, David Writebol, said in a statement read by the president of SIM USA, the aid group with which she was working in Liberia. "Now we have a real reason to be hopeful."

Brantly and Writebol were both infected despite taking precautions as they treated Ebola patients in West Africa, where the virus has been spreading faster than governments can contain it, killing nearly 900 people so far.

The treatment, called ZMapp, was developed with U.S. military funding by a San Diego company, using antibodies harvested from lab animals that had been injected with parts of the Ebola virus. Tobacco plants in Kentucky are being used to make the treatment.

It's impossible to know whether the drug saved these workers, CDC Director Tom Frieden emphasized. "Every medicine has risks and benefits," he said to reporters at a health symposium in Kentucky. "Until we do a study, we don't know if it helps, if it hurts, or if it doesn't make any difference."

JEMS: CDC Chief Tries to Ease Ebola Fears

If the treatment works, it could create pressure to speed through testing and production to help contain the disease in Africa.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Ebola, but several are under development, including ZMapp, made by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. It works by boosting the immune system's efforts to fight the virus. The U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency announced last month that it is providing more funding to speed the drug's development.

Brantly and Writebol were working at a missionary clinic outside Liberia's capital. David Writebol remains in Liberia, where he said his wife's care was extraordinary.

"It's not like having a nurse come in every hour to fluff up your pillow," he said in his statement. "It's more like going into a nuclear reactor. The suits are clumsy, hot and uncomfortable. But it was like watching the love of Christ take place right before your eyes."

David Writebol said in his statement that she was able to stand up and, with assistance, to get on the plane in Liberia. Before the flight, she ate some yogurt, he said.

Ebola is spread by close contact with blood and other bodily fluids, and Writebol's duties included disinfecting doctors and nurses entering or leaving the Ebola treatment area.

Writebol and Brantly will be sealed off from anyone who isn't wearing protective gear. Dr. Bruce Ribner, who will treat them, said their families can speak with them through a plate-glass window. On Tuesday, Amber Brantly said in a statement that she has been able to see her husband every day.

___

Associated Press writer Bruce Schreiner in Hazard, Ky., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Mobile Category: 
News


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, ebola

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Over Half of Seattle Fire Stations Test Positive for MRSA

Surprisingly high results come from test kits based on earlier study.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

AMR Crew Rescues Mississippi Driver from Fiery Crash

Rescue during crash in Jackson is caught on video.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Tempe’s Drug Dilemma

Dealing with overdoses.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

I’m a Paramedic

Profile of a Northshore LIJ medic.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Nightwatch Series Premiere Party

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman attends the series premiere of A&E's new reality show, "Nightwatch."
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Chemical Investigation

Chemicals and suspicious package are probed at two locations
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Cincinnati Overpass Collapse

Fatal pancake collapse occurs during demolition.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >