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Fort Worth Doctor With Ebola Is Back In U.S. And Appears To Be Improving

Samaritan's Purse
Dr. Kent Brantly, right, prepared a chlorine solution for disinfection at ELWA Hospital in Liberia.

The Fort Worth doctor who contracted the Ebola virus and is now in Atlanta appears to be improving.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told NBC on Sunday that Dr. Kent Brantly  "seems to be improved” in recent days after being transported from Liberia.

Brantly arrived in Atlanta on Saturday and was sent to Emory University Hospital.

Another American in Liberia with Ebola, Nancy Writebol, is expected to arrive in Atlanta on Tuesday.

Brantly is in good spirits, said his wife, Amber.

“He thanked everyone for their prayers and asked for continued prayer for Nancy Writebol’s safe return and full recovery,” Amber Brantly said in a statement.

Kent Brantly, who had been working with Samaritan’s Purse, a relief group, to treat Ebola patients, received a dose of an experimental serum before he left Liberia, the agency said. There is no cure for Ebola.

He had earlier turned down the serum so that Writebol, a missionary, could receive it – only one dose had been available.

“We thank God that they are alive and now have access to the best care in the world,” Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, said in a statement. “We are extremely thankful for the help we have received from the State Department, the CDC, the National Institute of Health, WHO and, of course, Emory Hospital."

The full statement from Amber Brantly

Amber Brantly, the wife of Kent Brantly, said in a statement over the weekend: “Our family is rejoicing over Kent’s safe arrival, and we are confident that he is receiving the very best care. We are very grateful to the staff at Emory University Hospital, who have been so nice and welcoming to us. I was able to see Kent today. He is in good spirits. He thanked everyone for their prayers and asked for continued prayer for Nancy Writebol’s safe return and full recovery.” 

NBC reports: 

Brantly's wife, Amber, told church friends in their Texas hometown that she was “rejoicing in the Lord for Kent’s arrival yesterday,” adding in an email that her husband “has a long way to go.” She asked for the congregation to continue praying for her husband, for Nancy Writebol, a second American infected with Ebola, and for those fighting the deadly disease in west Africa. “We are heartbroken for Liberia, and ask that you please pray for God's hand of healing to reach out and contain the virus in west Africa,” she wrote.

What is the experimental serum?

NPR explores the history of the serum:

We know there's no drug to treat Ebola. … But sometimes the human body can mount a successful defense against this deadly virus. And 20 years ago, doctors adapted this natural defense to make an impromptu treatment during a previous Ebola outbreak.

More on Ebola

The Associated Press reports: There is no cure for the Ebola virus, which causes hemorrhagic fever that kills at least 60 percent of the people it infects in Africa. At least 729 people have died in West Africa this year. ... The CDC chief said old-fashioned practices are required to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa. That means finding the patients and their contacts, making sure they're treated, educating the public and doing rigorous infection control in hospitals. Ebola is only spread through direct contact of bodily fluids.

Learn more

We've been tracking the situation in Liberia, and Brantly's recovery, in recent days. Catch up here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.