Atlanta: A second American medical missionary stricken with the often deadly Ebola virus is expected to be flown on Tuesday to the US for treatment, following a colleague who was admitted over the weekend to Emory University Hospital`s infectious disease unit.
Top American public health officials continue to emphasise that treating Nancy Writebol and Dr Kent Brantly in the US poses no risks to the public as West Africa grapples with its worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history.
"The plain truth is that we can stop Ebola," said Dr Tom Frieden, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaking Sunday (yesterday) on ABC`s "This Week. "We know how to control it: hospital infection control and stopping it at the source in Africa."
Brantley and Writebol served on the same medical mission team that was treating Ebola patients in Liberia. Also spreading in Guinea and Sierra Leone, the outbreak has infected more than 1,300 people in West Africa, killing at least 729 of them.
Liberian officials said a medical evacuation plane would transport Writebol to the United States early Tuesday. Information Minister Lewis Brown told a news agency that the flight was expected to leave West Africa between at 1 am and 1.30 am local time Tuesday.
Brantly arrived on Saturday under the same protocol, flying from West Africa to Dobbins Air Reserve base outside Atlanta in a small plane equipped to contain infectious diseases. A small police escort followed his ambulance to the hospital, where he emerged dressed head to toe in white protective clothing and walked into the hospital on his own power.
In another television appearance, Frieden said on "Fox News Sunday" that Brantly "appears to be improving."
An American mission official has said Brantly was treating victims of the outbreak at a hospital compound near Monrovia, Liberia, when he became infected. They said Writebol served as a hygienist whose role included decontaminating those entering or leaving the Ebola treatment area at that hospital.
There is no cure for the Ebola virus, which causes haemorrhagic fever that kills at least 60 percent of the people it infects in Africa. It is spread by close contact with bodily fluids and blood, meaning it is not spread as easily as airborne influenza or the common cold.
That means any modern hospital using standard infection-control measures should be able to handle it. American doctors say the virus could be curtailed in Africa by a better functioning health care system.