CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The doctor who oversaw treatment of two American missionaries who contracted the Ebola virus in west Africa said he doesn’t know if a third sick American will be coming to his Atlanta hospital.
“I know there have been discussions that this person will be coming back to the United States, Dr. Bruce Ribner, head of the infectious disease unit at Emory University, told NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday. “I don’t believe the actual site where they’re coming back has been decided yet.”
The North Carolina-based missionary group SIM said Tuesday that the obstetrician has been infected with the Ebola virus and is now in isolation in Liberia.
One of Ribner’s patients, Dr. Kent Brantly, said he knew the sick doctor quite well and has prayed for him and his family, whom he said were “holding up “pretty well.”
Brantly said he’s not worried about the stigma of having had Ebola.
“I’ve been recognized a few times out in public, but the only people who come and speak to me are the ones who grab my arm and say `I am so glad to meet you.'”
Brantly said he knew what to expect when he developed diarrhea, vomiting and a rash.
“I was looking at it through a different lens than a lot of people because I had taken care of so many patients and I had to watch their progression,” he said.
SIM was expected to discuss more about the second infected doctor’s condition later Wednesday.
After weeks of battling Ebola, a second SIM missionary from North Carolina who also was treated at Emory planned to talk publicly Wednesday for the first time about her fight to survive the deadly virus.
Nancy Writebol and her husband, David, planned to hold a news conference Wednesday at the SIM USA charity’s sprawling campus south of Charlotte. The news conference comes one day after the charity announced that an American doctor treating obstetrics patients at its hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, has tested positive for Ebola.
The Writebols left their home last year for missionary work at a clinic in Liberia, where Nancy Writebol’s duties included disinfecting staff entering or leaving the Ebola treatment area. After she was infected, Nancy Writebol, 59, was flown to the United States and kept in isolation at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
She was released Aug. 19 and has been spending time with her husband at an undisclosed location. Her husband was quarantined for a week at the SIM campus before being released.
Earlier, David Writebol said he and his wife expected to enter a world of poverty, pain and suffering when they left for missionary work in Liberia. They accepted the risks, having faith God would ensure their safety.
So when a doctor told Writebol his wife was infected with the virus, he said he turned to God for strength.
The virus that has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa is spread by direct contact with blood or bodily fluids, not through casual contact.
Brantly was released last month after spending three weeks in an isolation unit at the same hospital.
After Brantly, 33, and Nancy Writebol were infected, their charity organizations, Samaritan’s Purse and SIM, reached out to top infectious disease experts for help.