Dr Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said on Sunday that the American doctor who contracted Ebola in West Africa, Dr. Kent Brantly, seemed to have improved.
Dr Frieden, has been speaking to the media in order to reassure a worried public told NBC’s Meet the Press talk show it was encouraging to see Dr Kent Brantly walk out of an ambulance unassisted when he arrived at Atlanta’s Emory University hospital from Liberia on Saturday.
“Ebola can be deadly,” he said, “but for people who are healthy like this doctor, the fatality rate may be lower than those usually quoted.”
Asked if enough precautions had been taken, and if Brantly’s return represented an unacceptable risk to the US, Frieden said: “He was coming home, and the organisation that sent him to Africa made the decision to bring him home.
“He’s an American citizen, and what our role is in public health is to make sure that if an American is coming home with an infectious disease we protect so it doesn’t spread. That was what we did in transit and at the hospital.”
Brantly, from Texas, is the first of two US aid workers to be flown back to the country; Nancy Writebol, a missionary from South Carolina who worked for the same charity in Liberia, Samaritan’s Purse, is due to follow on the same specially adapted private jet.
Liberia’s information minister said on Sunday Writebol would arrive back in the US early on Tuesday. Lewis Brown said the second evacuation flight was expected to leave West Africa between at 1am and 1.30am that day.
The Ebola outbreak has so far mainly affected three West African countries: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. More than 700 people have died; the disease has also been reported in Nigeria.