Ebola outbreak: Infected American missionary Dr Kent Brantly arrives back in the US – and walks straight into isolation

Aid worker has been admitted to Emory University Hospital in Georgia after contracting the deadly disease in Liberia, Africa

The first of two American aid workers infected with the Ebola virus has arrived back in the US for treatment.

Dr Kent Brantly touched down in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday to receive specialist care at Emory University Hospital after contracting the deadly disease, which has killed more than 700 people in west Africa.

Missionary Dr Brantly, who became infected in Liberia, will be joined by fellow aid worker Nancy Writebol, 59, in a few days.

Both are thought to be in a critical condition and will be admitted to an isolation unit for infectious diseases, in a hospital reportedly well equipped to deal with dangerous viruses.

 

Their evacuation from the epicentre of the outbreak has led to a small outcry in the US, with concerned members of the public demanding why they had been brought back to US soil.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that it had received at a number of “nasty emails” and at least 100 calls from people saying: “How dare you bring Ebola into the country!?”

CDC director Dr Tom Frieden said: “I hope that our understandable fear of the unfamiliar does not trump our compassion when ill Americans return to the US for care.”

To ensure that Dr Brantly, 33, did not infect health workers or the pilot while being flown over in a modified Gulfstream III aircraft, he was dressed in protective clothing and had been placed in a sealed, tent-like device called the Aeromedical Biological Containment System (ABCS).

Inside the Atlanta hospital, visitors are kept away and comprehensive measures are taken to ensure that the virus is contained, such as with the disposal and decontamination of gear worn by healthcare professionals.

“Nothing comes out of this unit until it is non-infectious,” said Dr Bruce Ribner, of Emory University Hospital.

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The containment device within the aircraft carrying Dr Brantly

“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.”

Ms Writebol, who was diagnosed on 25 July, had been working alongside Dr Brantly for Christian relief organisation Samaritan's Purse.

So far the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 729 people have died from the virus, with confirmed cases in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as one in Nigeria.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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