The news that two American citizens infected with the deadly Ebola virus are expected to be air-lifted out of Liberia to the United States to seek effective treatment caused fear and panic to spread across social media on Thursday.
CNN reported that a long-range business jet fitted with an isolation pod is already on its way to Liberia, one of the four African countries where the Ebola outbreak has been declared, to evacuate the two aid workers, identified as Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, a health care worker with the faith-based charity Samaritan’s Purse.
The CNN source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said a medical charter flight departed from Cartersville, Georgia at around 5 P.M. E.T., but it is not clear yet where the plane would land and when it would return to the U.S.
However, at least one of the patients would be taken to the Emory University Hospital, not far from the headquarters of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
“The patient will be cared for in an isolation unit at the hospital that is separate from patient areas,” said CNN‘s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is affiliated with the hospital.
There is no known cure or vaccine for the Ebola virus, which has infected 1,323 and killed 729 people in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria between March and July 27, NBC News reported.
However, the one and only dose of an experimental drug was given–at Dr. Brantly’s selfless request–to Ms. Writebol.
There was also a unit of blood taken from a teenage patient of Dr. Brantly’s who had been infected with the ebola virus and had survived that was administered to Dr. Brantly–in the hope that the survivor’s blood may have developed antibodies to the deadly disease.
No news of either Dr. Brantly’s or Ms. Writebol’s progress has been forthcoming.
The CDC said although the virus currently poses little risk to the American populace, it has stepped up its efforts to warn Americans to refrain from traveling to the affected countries in West Africa, particularly to Liberia, and said that people should put off all nonessential travel to West Africa for now.
“This is a tragic, painful, dreadful, merciless virus. It is the largest, most complex outbreak that we know of in history,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said. “This is a marathon, not a sprint and we at CDC are surging our response along with others. Although it will not be quick and it will not be easy, we do know how to stop Ebola.”