American Doctor in Africa Gets Treatment for Ebola
BOONE, North Carolina (AP) — An American doctor is receiving intensive medical treatment in Liberia after he was infected with the deadly Ebola virus while treating patients in the West African nation, a spokeswoman for an aid organization said Sunday.
Dr. Kent Brantly was in stable condition, talking with his doctors and working on his computer while receiving care at a hospital in the Liberian capital of Monrovia, said Melissa Strickland, a spokeswoman for North Carolina-based Samaritan’s Purse.
She cautioned that Brantly is “not out of the woods yet.” She said patients have a better chance of survival if they receive treatment immediately after being infected, which Brantly did.
Brantly, 33, has been working with Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia since October 2013 as part of the group’s post-residency program for doctors, Strickland said. He is the medical director for the aid organization’s case management center in the city.
The website for Samaritan’s Purse said Brantly had worked as a family practice physician in Fort Worth, Texas.
The highly contagious Ebola virus is one of the most deadly diseases in the world. Photos of Brantly working in Liberia show him in white coveralls made of a synthetic material that he wore for hours a day while treating Ebola patients.
Brantly was quoted in a posting on the organization’s website earlier this year about efforts to maintain an isolation ward for patients.
“The hospital is taking great effort to be prepared,” Brantly said. “In past Ebola outbreaks, many of the casualties have been healthcare workers who contracted the disease through their work caring for infected individuals.”
Strickland says that Brantly’s wife and children had been living with him in Africa, but they are currently in the U.S.
A woman who identified herself as Brantly’s mother answered a U.S. phone listing for him, but said family members are declining comment at this time.
The deadly disease has killed at least 672 people in several African countries since the outbreak began earlier this year.
A government official said Sunday that one of Liberia’s most high-profile doctors has died of Ebola, highlighting the risks facing health workers trying to combat the deadly disease.
Dr. Samuel Brisbane is the first Liberian doctor to die in an outbreak the World Health Organization says has killed 129 people in the West African nation. A Ugandan doctor working in the country died earlier this month.