The first American patient infected with the Ebola virus arrived in the United States on Saturday. He is being treated in a special isolation unit at Emory University Hospital in Atalanta.
Dr. Kent Brantly, an aid worker, is thought to be the first American infected with the disease. He and fellow Samaritan’s Purse worker, Nancy Writebol, were infected with the deadly virus while working in a Liberian hospital. Writebol is expected to return to the United States in the next few days, according to the New York Times.
The Ebola virus, which has no known cure, has already claimed more than 700 lives in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and infected over 1,000, according to the World Health Organization. The virus is spread via contact with bodily fluids. In Western Africa it has a 60-80 percent death rate, according to the Associated Press.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control director, Dr. Thomas Frieden, spoke to NBC on Sunday morning about Brantly's condition:
"Well, it's encouraging. He seems to be improved from the reports we got earlier. Ebola can be deadly. But in people who are healthy, the case fatality rate may be lower than the ones that we're usually quoting because people like this doctor are much healthier going in than many of the people who unfortunately are still getting Ebola in Africa."
He also explained the decision to bring Dr. Brantly back to the United States. "He's an American citizen," Dr. Frieden explained. "And what our role is in public health is to make sure that if an American is coming home with an infectious disease, we protect others so that they don't spread it. And that's what we did in transit and when he's here."
Not everyone is thrilled with the decision to bring Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writbol home. Donald Trump voiced his objections via Twitter:
One of the Emory University Hospital doctors, Dr. Bruce Ribner, who will be treating the two Americans infected with Ebola explained the precautions that the hospital is taking.
"Nothing comes out of this unit until it is non-infectious," said Dr. Ribner, who will be treating the patients. "The bottom line is: We have an inordinate amount of safety associated with the care of this patient. And we do not believe that any health care worker, any other patient or any visitor to our facility is in any way at risk of acquiring this infection."
Some of those precautions include and isolated unit, intense protective gear, glass walls for observation without coming into contact with patient and "negative air pressure" system that allows air in, but not out until it is filtered of germs.
Dr. Ribner also explained that the two Americans deserve medical attention in the United States.
"They have gone over on a humanitarian mission," the doctor said on Friday. "They have become infected through medical care and we feel that we have the environment and expertise to safely care for these patients and offer them the maximum opportunity for recovery from these infections."