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2nd American Infected With Ebola Arrives in U.S.

WebMD Health News

Aug. 5, 2014 -- As the second American infected with Ebola in Liberia returned to the United States, health officials were trying to determine how both became infected with the virus.

Both Nancy Writebol, who arrived in Atlanta on Tuesday, and Dr. Kent Brantly were working under strict patient care rules that had been approved by experts at the CDC, says Bruce Johnson. He's the president of SIM USA, the aid organization Writebol was working with.

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“We have protective protocols in place for all our staff. We don’t know how Nancy contracted this. We don’t know where that point of contact was,” Johnson says.

Writebol was a personnel coordinator with SIM. Part of her duties involved washing down and disinfecting doctors and nurses as they entered and left the Ebola treatment area at the hospital where she worked.

“She did not have direct contact with patients,” Johnson says. “She wasn’t working in the Ebola unit. She was spraying down people as they came out of the unit.”

Johnson says that soon after Brantly and Writebol were infected, SIM and Samaritan’s Purse, another aid organization staffing the hospital, asked the CDC to do a detailed review of how they might have been infected.

He says the results of that review are pending. CDC staff are also on site in Liberia, testing people with symptoms to see whether or not they have the virus.

Johnson couldn’t provide a precise timeline for when the two workers fell ill or when they were treated with an experimental medication that was rushed to them from the U.S. He says he was told that Writebol was sick on July 26.

Signs of Improvement

Writebol, 58, arrived in a government jet outfitted with a sealed medical pod, and was wheeled into a special isolation unit at Emory University Hospital on a stretcher Tuesday afternoon. Brantly is already receiving treatment in the unit, one of four such specialized facilities in the U.S.

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