U.S. doctor with Ebola 1st to arrive in Atlanta
ATLANTA — An American doctor infected with the Ebola virus in Africa arrived in Atlanta for treatment Saturday, landing at a military base, then being whisked away to one of the most sophisticated hospital isolation units in the country, officials say.
It marks the first time anyone infected with incurable Ebola, considered one of the world's deadliest diseases, has been brought into the country. A second American aid worker infected with the virus was expected to arrive within a couple days.
A private plane outfitted with a special, portable tent designed for transporting patients with highly infectious diseases arrived at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, spokesman Lt. Col. James Wilson confirmed. Samaritan's Purse missionary group tells The Associated Press that Dr. Kent Brantly is the patient.
An ambulance from Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital left the base in Marietta, Ga., shortly after the Gulfstream landed and drove the 15 miles or so toward Emory University Hospital where Brantly and another aid worker will be treated.
Once at the hospital, one person in white protective clothing from head to toe climbed down from the back of the ambulance and a second person in the same type of hazmat-looking suit appeared to take his gloved hands and guide him toward a building at Emory, which is located just down a hill from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
U.S. officials are confident the patients with the virus can be treated without putting the public in any danger.
The ambulance with red markings was flanked by a few SUVs and a police car for the short trip to the hospital along a wide-open Interstate with no traffic.
The second patient, Nancy Writebol, will follow a few days later, the hospital has said. The two Americans worked at a hospital in Liberia, one of the three West Africa countries hit by the largest Ebola outbreak in history.
Dr. Jay Varkey, an infectious disease specialist at Emory who will be involved in Brantly's care, said the hospital's isolation unit is well-equipped to handle patients with diseases that are even more infectious than Ebola.
The unit was used for treating at least one SARS patient in 2005. Unlike Ebola, SARS — like the flu — is an airborne virus and can spread easily when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Health experts say a specialized isolation unit is not needed for treating an Ebola patient. Standard rigorous infection control measures should work at any hospital.
“Ebola is only transmitted through blood and bodily fluids,” he said. “Unlike the flu, like influenza, which we deal with every winter, Ebola cannot be spread thorugh the air.”
Ebola begins with fever, headache and weakness and can escalate to vomiting, diarrhea and kidney and liver problems. In some cases, patients bleed both internally and externally.
Dr. Philip Brachman, an Emory University public health specialist who for many years headed the CDC's disease detectives program, said Friday that since there is no cure, medical workers will try any modern therapy that can be done, such as better monitoring of fluids, electrolytes and vital signs.
“That's all we can do for such a patient. We can make them feel comfortable” and let the body try to beat back the virus, he said.
It's not known how Brantly was infected, but health care workers are among the most vulnerable because of their close contact with sick patients.
Brantly's wife, Amber, and their two children, 3 and 5, had left Liberia for a wedding in the U.S. just days before her husband fell ill and quarantined himself. Last week, in a statement, she said they were fine and were staying with family in Abilene, Texas.
Brantly went to medical school at Indiana University and did a four-year residency at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. Last October, he began a two-year fellowship with Samaritan's Purse to serve as a general practitioner at a mission hospital outside the Liberia capital of Monrovia. He directed the hospital's Ebola clinic when the outbreak reached that West Africa nation.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Dusty Atlantic Ocean thwarts tropical storms
- Fires’ fury unabated in California
- Baltimore slayings climb to level unseen in decades
- Suspect in South Carolina church shooting wants to plead guilty to hate crimes, attorney says
- Clintons hauled in $139M in past 8 years
- Despite U.S. dollars and bombs, effort failing to squash ISIS
- Amid 4-year drought, fears rise of trees dying, falling in California
- Planned Parenthood recordings release halted by judge
- Pollard, spy for Israel in the 1980s, to be released from prison
- Health spending growth to rebound
- They still have snow in Buffalo