Video courtesy of USA Today
(RNS) A small plane carrying Nancy Writebol, the second American Ebola patient from Liberia, arrived in the United States on Tuesday (Aug. 5), making a brief refueling stop in Bangor, Maine, en route to Atlanta and Emory University Hospital.
The same plane, a Gulfstream jet specially outfitted with an isolation pod, brought the first American patient, 33-year-old physician Kent Brantly, to the medical center from Liberia on Saturday, WLBZ-TV reports. The plane was on the ground in Bangor for less than an hour.
Brantly, with Samaritan’s Purse, and Writebol, with Service in Mission, are medical missionaries who were infected with Ebola while working with patients in Liberia.
SIM USA said on Monday that the 59-year-old Writebol was in serious condition.
“Her husband told me Sunday her appetite has improved, and she requested one of her favorite dishes — Liberian potato soup — and coffee,” Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA, said in a statement. Writebol’s son, Jeremy, said his mother “is still struggling” but that “there seems to be improvement.”
Brantly’s wife said in a statement late Sunday that she had seen her husband and that he was in good spirits.
“He thanked everyone for their prayers and asked for continued prayer for Nancy Writebol’s safe return and full recovery,” Amber Brantly said.
The World Health Organization said in its most recent update on the disease that the number of reported cases from the latest outbreak has risen to 1,603, with 887 deaths. The week ending Aug. 1 saw 163 new cases and 61 deaths, the health agency said.
As concern mounts over the spread of the virus in West Africa, the World Bank has pledged as much as $200 million in emergency funding to help Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
“The international community needs to act fast to contain and stop this Ebola outbreak,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, who is a medical doctor with experience of treating infectious diseases.
“I believe this new World Bank emergency funding will provide critically needed support for the response to stop the further transmission.”
Late Monday, officials at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York admitted a man who had recently been to West Africa and was showing symptoms — high fever and gastrointestinal problems — consistent with Ebola.
However, the New York City Health Department later said “the patient is unlikely to have Ebola. Specimens are being tested for common causes of illness and to definitively exclude Ebola.”
In Washington, a summit hosted by the White House with African leaders has been overshadowed by the growing health crisis posed by the Ebola virus.
Doug Stanglin and Kim Hjelmgaard write for USA Today. Contributing: Kim Painter and Donna Leinwand; The Associated Press