US Ebola patient 'seems to be improving': CDC chief

August 3, 2014

A US doctor infected with the Ebola virus "seems to be improving," a top US health official said Sunday after the aid worker was flown back to the United States from Africa for treatment.

Kent Brantly, one of two American aid workers infected with the in West Africa, is being treated in an isolation unit at Emory University hospital in Atlanta.

"It's encouraging that he seems to be improving. That's really important, and we're hoping he'll continue to improve," said Tom Frieden, the director of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control.

"But Ebola is such a scary disease because it's so deadly," he added, speaking on CBS's Face the Nation.

More than 700 people have died in West Africa during the current outbreak. Since the virus emerged in 1976 it has killed two-thirds of those infected.

US administration officials insisted the latest outbreak would not affect a three-day US-Africa summit that begins in Washington Monday, with the participation of nearly 50 of the continent's leaders and their entourages.

"We'll be monitoring the situation very closely," Valerie Jarret, a senior advisor to President Barack Obama, said on CBS's Face the Nation. "But we're confident that the summit will be a huge success and we will, obviously, take the precautions that are necessary."

Frieden stressed that despite the spread of the virus in West Africa, it can be contained.

"The plain fact is, we can stop it. We can stop it from spreading in hospitals and we can stop it in Africa," Frieden said.

"In fact, we have stopped every previous outbreak, and I'm confident we can stop this one," he said.

Frieden said a surge of 50 public health experts in the three countries affected by the outbreak would be deployed in the next 30 days.

Brantly's wife Amber asked for people to pray for her husband's recovery and that of those stricken with the virus in Liberia.

"I spoke with him, and he is glad to be back in the US. I am thankful to God for his safe transport and for giving him the strength to walk into the hospital," she said in a statement.

Christian missionary worker Nancy Writebol is expected to be airlifted back to the United States in the coming days by the same method as Brantly.

Family 'not at risk'

Frieden said Brantly's wife and two children visited the doctor in Liberia but were not thought to have been at risk.

"It doesn't spread casually and it doesn't spread from someone who's not sick," Frieden said. "And our understanding is that they did not have contact with him when he was sick. "

While Frieden acknowledged it was "possible" the US could see further cases of Ebola if an infected indivdiual entered the country after returning from the affected region, authorities were confident the disease would not gain a foothold.

"We know it's possible that someone will come in," he said. "If they go to a hospital and that hospital doesn't recognize it's Ebola, there could be additional cases.

"But I don't think it's in the cards that we would have widespread Ebola in this country because the way it spreads in Africa is really two things. First, in hospitals where there isn't infection control. And second, in burial practices where people are touching the bodies of people who have died from Ebola. So it's not going to spread widely in the US."

In a separate development, a retired US doctor working in Liberia as part of an international team revealed he had placed himself in voluntary quarantine after returning to the United States on July 25.

Alan Jamison, 69, told CNN he had shown no symptoms of the but had chosen to live in seclusion in Morristown, Tennessee as a precaution for a 21-day period.

Explore further: US warns against traveling to Ebola-hit countries

Related Stories

US warns against traveling to Ebola-hit countries

August 1, 2014
(AP)—U.S. health officials on Thursday warned Americans not to travel to the three West African countries hit by the worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history.

'Experimental serum' is offered to US Ebola patients

July 31, 2014
A US doctor stricken with Ebola in Liberia was offered an experimental serum but insisted that his colleague receive it instead, a Christian aid agency said Thursday.

US doctor in Africa tests positive for Ebola

July 27, 2014
(AP)—A U.S. doctor working with Ebola patients in Liberia has tested positive for the deadly virus, an aid organization said Saturday.

First Ebola case on US soil as doctor returns home (Update)

August 2, 2014
Doctors worked to save America's first Ebola virus patient Saturday after he arrived in the United States aboard a private air ambulance and was whisked to a state-of-the-art hospital isolation unit.

US evacuating two Americans sick with Ebola (Update)

August 1, 2014
Two Americans infected with Ebola in West Africa will be evacuated back to the United States in the coming days to be cared for in strict isolation, officials said Friday.

Peace Corps withdraws from W. Africa over Ebola fears

July 31, 2014
The US Peace Corps announced Wednesday it was pulling hundreds of volunteers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone due to growing concerns over the spread of the deadly Ebola epidemic raging in West Africa.

Recommended for you

Onions could hold key to fighting antibiotic resistance

January 22, 2018
A type of onion could help the fight against antibiotic resistance in cases of tuberculosis, a UCL and Birkbeck-led study suggests.

New long-acting approach for malaria therapy developed

January 22, 2018
A new study, published in Nature Communications, conducted by the University of Liverpool and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine highlights a new 'long acting' medicine for the prevention of malaria.

Virus shown to be likely cause of mystery polio-like illness

January 22, 2018
A major review by UNSW researchers has identified strong evidence that a virus called Enterovirus D68 is the cause of a mystery polio-like illness that has paralysed children in the US, Canada and Europe.

Study ends debate over role of steroids in treating septic shock

January 19, 2018
The results from the largest ever study of septic shock could improve treatment for critically ill patients and save health systems worldwide hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

New approach could help curtail hospitalizations due to influenza infection

January 18, 2018
More than 700,000 Americans were hospitalized due to illnesses associated with the seasonal flu during the 2014-15 flu season, according to federal estimates. A radical new approach to vaccine development at UCLA may help ...

Flu may be spread just by breathing, new study shows; coughing and sneezing not required

January 18, 2018
It is easier to spread the influenza virus (flu) than previously thought, according to a new University of Maryland-led study released today. People commonly believe that they can catch the flu by exposure to droplets from ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.