UK & World News

  • 5 August 2014, 15:58

Second American Ebola Patient Lands In US

A second American aid worker infected with ebola in West Africa has arrived at an air base near Atlanta, Georgia.

A plane believed to be carrying missionary Nancy Writebol, 59, reached its destination after a refuelling stop in Maine.

She will be treated in a special isolation ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, according to her aid group.

Her fellow medical missionary, Dr Kent Brantly, was admitted to the same facility on Saturday.

Ms Writebol, a mother of two from Charlotte, North Carolina, took off in an air ambulance on Monday from Liberia's capital, Monrovia.

She is in a serious but stable condition, said her employer SIM USA.

She and Dr Brantly, 33, from Texas, contracted ebola while working on the same team treating patients at a hospital near Monrovia.

Ms Writebol was a hygienist whose job it was to decontaminate those entering or leaving the ebola treatment area.

Both Americans are being treated with an experimental drug never tested for safety in humans.

The drug, ZMapp, was identified as a possible treatment in January after research by the US government and the military.

Manufactured by San Diego's Mapp Biopharmaceutical, it works by boosting the immune system and is made from antibodies produced by lab animals exposed to parts of the virus.

Ms Writebol's arrival came a day after a New York hospital said it was testing a man for ebola after he turned up at the emergency department.

The man - who was admitted to New York's Mount Sinai Hospital - was placed in isolation after displaying fever and gastrointestinal problems.

Health officials cautioned that the patient was probably suffering froma much more common condition.

But the incident underscored the heightened state of alert in the US as an ebola outbreak that has killed nearly 900 people rages in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

British Airways has suspended flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone until the end of August over concerns about the outbreak.

Nigeria has now confirmed it has eight suspected and one confirmed case of ebola, while Saudi Arabia said it was also testing a man for the virus.

US border officials say they are screening airline passengers from Africa for symptoms of the viral haemorrhagic fever.

Border patrol agents at Washington's Dulles International and New York's JFK airports are on ebola watch as delegations from some 50 African countries arrive in the nation's capital for an economic summit this week.

Officials have been told to ask travellers about possible exposure to the virus and to look out for anyone with a fever or signs of sickness.

Real estatetycoon Donald Trump meanwhile sparked controversy by lambasting "incompetent" US authorities for allowing the repatriation of the two ebola-infected Americans.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, vomiting, severe headaches, muscular pain and, as the patient nears the end, profuse bleeding.

It is spread by contact with blood or other bodily fluids and is not passed on through the air.