Before Nancy Writebol, a missionary from North Carolina infected with Ebola, boarded the plan that was scheduled to fly her to Emory University Hospital, she ate yogurt, according to her husband.
“Nancy is still very, very weak,” David Writebol said in a released statement. “[She] shows continue, but slow improvement.”
Nancy Writebol, 58, the second U.S. patient to contract the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia landed at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Cobb County Aug. 5 and was transported to Emory for treatment. Writebol could be seen on news cameras being taken out of the ambulance on a stretcher and was dressed in a special suit to prevent spread of the virus.
Writebol joined Dr. Kent Brantly in an isolated area of the hospital to be treated for the virus. Brantly arrived in Atlanta from Liberia on Aug. 2. Writebol and Brantly were working for SIM, an international Christian organization that has been in Liberia helping those affected by the Ebola outbreak in the African country.
The two patients were infected despite taking precautions as they treated Ebola patients in West Africa. The virus has killed nearly 900 people in West Africa.
SIM held a press conference Aug. 5 to update Writebol’s condition. During that press conference, SIM USA president Bruce Johnson said Writebol had no direct contact with infected patients. Ebola is spread by close contact with blood and other bodily fluids.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are currently in Liberia investigating how Brantly and Writebol caught the deadly virus.
Johnson also confirmed that Writebol was settling in at Emory and her sons would be able to visit her, but have to talk to her through a glass panel. Her husband still remains in Liberia, but will join her in Atlanta soon.
Johnson read a statement from Writebol’s husband saying, “She is showing signs of progress and is moving in the right direction.”
“We still have a long way to go, but we have reason for hope,” David said. “We are cautiously optimistic. A week ago, we were thinking about making funeral arrangements for Nancy. Now we have a real reason to be hopeful.”
Johnson said both SIM and Samaritan’s Purse have spent about $1 million to help pay for Writebol and Brantly’s treatment and transportation back to the United States.
Writebol and Brantly are getting an experimental drug so novel it has never been tested for safety in humans, according to reports.