US Ebola doctor 'growing stronger'

COLLEEN JENKINS
Last updated 12:23 09/08/2014
ebola

AT WORK: Dr. Kent Brantly (R), one of the two Americans who contracted Ebola, works at an Ebola isolation ward at a mission hospital outside of Monrovia, Liberia.

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The Texas doctor being treated for Ebola in Atlanta after getting evacuated from West Africa said in a statement on Friday (Saturday NZ time) he was ''growing stronger every day.''

Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, said he had received the best possible care from Emory University Hospital infectious disease specialists, who also are treating his colleague, Nancy Writebol, for the deadly virus.

''I am writing this update from my isolation room,'' Brantly said in his first public statement since contracting Ebola. ''I am growing stronger every day, and I thank God for his mercy as I have wrestled with this terrible disease.''

Brantly arrived in Georgia by medical aircraft on Saturday, followed on Tuesday by Writebol, a 59-year-old missionary from Charlotte, North Carolina. They are believed to be the first Ebola patients ever treated in the United States.

The two relief workers, who served on a joint team in Liberia run by Christian aid groups SIM USA and Samaritan's Purse, contracted Ebola while helping to combat the world's worst outbreak of the virus.

Nearly 1,000 people in West Africa have now died in the outbreak of one of the deadliest known diseases.

Brantly said he did not move with his wife and two children to Liberia for the specific purpose of fighting Ebola but, as the disease spread, he found himself holding the hands of many people who succumbed to it.

''I witnessed the horror firsthand, and I can still remember every face and name,'' he said.

Brantly said he isolated himself as soon as he began feeling ill and waited three days for a confirmed diagnosis.

''When the result was positive, I remember a deep sense of peace that was beyond all understanding,'' Brantly wrote. ''God was reminding me of what he had taught me years ago, that he will give me everything I need to be faithful to him.''

Writebol's husband, David, told the Charlotte Observer on Friday that his wife remains very weak. Because he had contact with her after she became infected, he has waited in Liberia for the 21-day incubation period to run out before he flies home.

''I'm told that she's making progress,'' David Writebol said. ''I think it's still too early to tell how things are going to go.''

Separately on Friday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that a Toronto-area hospital was treating a patient with a fever and flu-like symptoms who recently visited Nigeria. It said the patient had been isolated as a precautionary measure.

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- Reuters

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