Ebola-Infected American Doctor Is ‘Growing Stronger Every Day’

Aug 09, 2014 12:00 am ET

Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Kent Brantly, the missionary doctor infected with Ebola who was recently returned to the U.S. for treatment in Atlanta, said he is “growing stronger every day.”

“I am writing this update from my isolation room at Emory University Hospital, where doctors and nurses are providing the very best care possible,” Brantly said in a statement released yesterday by Samaritan’s Purse, the aid group he works with.

Brantly and Nancy Writebol, an aid worker also being treated at Emory, were infected while working with patients in an Ebola center in Liberia. Family and supporters have said that Writebol too is improving, though she remains weakened.

“My focus, however, remains the same -- to follow God,” Brantly wrote. “Please pray for our recovery.”

While both Americans received an experimental treatment developed by San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., it remains unclear if they were helped by the drug. More than 40 percent of people infected by the virus have survived in the current outbreak, probably because of early medical care, health officials say.

Palmer Holt, a spokesman for SIM USA, the aid group that Writebol works with, did not immediately respond to a call and e-mail asking about her condition.

The Ebola outbreak has sickened 1,779 people and killed 961 in four Western African nations since March, according to the World Health Organization.

There is no cure for Ebola, which is spread through direct contact with body fluids, such as blood. The virus can cause bleeding from the eyes, ears, and nose. Normally, patients are given fluids, blood transfusions and antibiotics with the hope that their immune systems can fight off the infection.

The use of Mapp’s experimental antibody cocktail, called ZMapp, has raised hopes that the medicine, which has never been tested in humans before, may help treat the disease.

--With assistance from Cynthia Koons in New York.