BOONE, N.C.--At least one of two American medical missionaries diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia could be back in the United States as early as Friday for treatment at Atlanta's Emory University Hospital.
The hospital has said only that there are plans for an American aid worker to be transferred to its facilities for treatment, but did not name the patient nor provide an arrival time. A medical transport plane left the United States on Thursday afternoon, headed to Liberia.
Thursday, Samaritan's Purse released an update on two of their workers stricken with Ebola.
Dr. Kent Brantly, of Ft. Worth Texas and Nancy Writebol, from Charlotte both being treated for the virus.
According to Samaritan Purse, Dr. Brantly took a slight turn for the worse overnight and his condition is now listed as grave. But even as he battles to survive Ebola, this heroic doctor is still focused on the well-being of others.
"Yesterday, an experimental serum arrived in the country, but there was only enough for one person. Dr. Brantly asked that it be given to Nancy Writebol," said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse. "However, Dr. Brantly received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy who had survived Ebola because of Dr. Brantly's care. The young boy and his family wanted to be able to help the doctor who saved his life."
The safety of our staff is a top priority, and Samaritan's Purse is currently working to evacuate all but the most essential personnel to their home countries. The evacuation should be completed this weekend. The exact timeline and destinations are being kept confidential to respect their privacy. Samaritan's Purse is taking precautions that exceed the standards recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
None of the evacuating staff are ill, and the World Health Organization and CDC continue to reiterate that people are not contagious unless they begin showing symptoms. Following their evacuation, Samaritan's Purse will work with staff to monitor their health.
Friday Samaritan Purse said the evacuation of 60 nonessential Samaritan's Purse and SIM staff and dependents in Liberia has already begun. They are all healthy, and we expect them to return to the United States by the end of the weekend.
The organization is asking the public to pray for Kent and Nancy and all those who are affected by Ebola, and the tremendous group of doctors and nurses who are caring for them.
Samaritan's Purse has around 355 people helping with the Ebola outbreak. It said they're from Canada, Great Britain, Liberia and the United States. Samaritan's Purse said if the international help does not come and the outbreak continues, it will consider pulling its members out of Africa.
The following is a statement from Amber Brantly, the wife of Dr. Kent Brantly, the American doctor with Ebola:
"I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the many people who have reached out to me and my family during this difficult time. Thank you to our good friends and thousands more who have been in constant prayer and fasting for Kent's deliverance from this disease. Also, thank you to Samaritan's Purse for their warmth, professionalism and support they have extended to us.
"I remain hopeful and believing that Kent will be healed from this dreadful disease. I am grateful for the daily reports I receive from his doctors on the ground. He is strong and peaceful and confident in the love of Jesus Christ, which is his sustenance right now.
"Many people have been asking how I am doing. The children and I are physically fine. We had left Liberia prior to Kent's exposure to the virus. I am always anxiously awaiting any news from Liberia regarding Kent's condition. Through the mountain tops and the valleys of this ordeal, I have been given a peace that comes from my relationship with my God. Jesus remains the Rock that I lean on. I feel strengthened each passing hour by your prayers. Through letters and comments, we have felt God's love and comfort poured out to us from literally every corner of the world.
"During our time in Texas, the children and I have enjoyed the reunion of family. Our kids have been a welcome relief and distraction to us all, reminding us of our joy and hope.
"I have been encouraged by the Writebol family and their bravery during this situation. They have kindly reached out to me and offered their full support and prayers as we walk this road together.
"I ask for your continued prayers for Kent, Nancy and the many others who are suffering."
Currently, the outbreak is in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Ebola is a very contagious and deadly disease. There is no cure for the virus and the death rates from past outbreaks are around 90 percent. More than 1,000 people have been infected in West Africa and nearly 700 have died.
The virus has killed more than 700 people. The U.S. issued a travel warning for the three countries that are being hit hard by the outbreak. The Assistant Prime Minister of Health in Liberia said if this virus isn't taken care of, it will be a global pandemic. He said the government declared this is now a humanitarian crisis. He said this is above the control of the national government.
Experts say the only real way to stop this virus is a mass isolation.