The Slatest

American Doctor With Ebola Arrives Back in U.S. for Treatment

World Health Organization workers wear protective clothing as they prepare to enter a hospital in Uganda.  

Photo by ISAAC KASAMANI/AFP/Getty Images

The first of two Americans with Ebola in Liberia has arrived back in the U.S. to receive treatment for the virus. Dr. Kent Brantly, who was working to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, traveled to Atlanta on Saturday “aboard a private air ambulance specially equipped to isolate patients with infectious diseases,” the New York Times reports.

Both Brantly and aid worker Nancy Writebol were working for the charity Samaritan’s Purse when they contracted the deadly virus. Both appear to be headed to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta to receive treatment. Emory would not confirm whether it was Brantly or Writebol who arrived first because of patient privacy laws, but local media report it is Brantly who arrived back in the U.S. with Writebol expected to return early next week.

Here’s more from the Times:

…Emory University Hospital, which has a containment unit for patients with dangerous infectious diseases… was built more than a decade ago with consultation from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has its headquarters nearby.

“The reason we are bringing these patients back to our facility is because we feel they deserve to have the highest level of care offered for their treatment,” Dr. Bruce S. Ribner, an infectious disease specialist at Emory who will be involved in their care, said at a Friday afternoon news conference… Dr. Ribner was among those who dismissed rising fears, often appearing online, that the arrivals of the two patients would spread the infection here. “From the time the air ambulance arrives in the metropolitan Atlanta area, up to and including being hospitalized at Emory University Hospital, we have taken every precaution that we know and that our colleagues at the C.D.C. know to ensure that there is no spread of this virus pathogen,” he said. The director of the disease centers, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, agreed that the patients posed little risk to others. And he added: “These are American citizens. American citizens have a right of return. I certainly hope people’s fear doesn’t trump their compassion.”