An American doctor who was stricken with the Ebola virus while helping victims in Liberia has returned to the United States, becoming the first known Ebola patient on U.S. soil.
Dr. Kent Brantly was flown from Liberia to the southern U.S. state of Georgia, on Saturday, on a specially equipped chartered medical plane.
After arriving at a Georgia military base, he was transferred to an ambulance that become part of a convoy that traveled to Emory University Hospital, a medical facility in the city of Atlanta.
Television video from the hospital showed two people emerging from the ambulance in white, full-body protective suits and entering the facility.
The hospital is one of only four in the U.S. that is equipped to handle such cases. Brantly will be treated in an isolation unit that is separate from the other patient areas.
Brantly and another American, Nancy Writebol, were serving as relief workers in Liberia when they became ill with Ebola, which has killed more than 700 people in West Africa since March.
Writebol will travel to the U.S. within the next few days and will be treated at the same Atlanta hospital.
Medical officials will use the same jet to transport Writebol. The small plane can hold only one person in isolation at a time.
An Atlanta doctor who is part of Brantly's treatment team says he disputes the notion that Ebola is being brought into the U.S. Dr. Jay Varkey says he views Brantly as a sick patient who needs the team's help.
Relief groups struggle
A medical relief group treating Ebola victims in West Africa says a growing number of affected areas and limited resources are making it difficult to control the epidemic, which has killed more than 700 people.
Doctors Without Borders says the situation in Liberia is "dire" because of a lack of trained personnel and resources.
The group says there have been "critical gaps" in the Ebola response in Sierra Leone and Liberia and a resurgence of new infections in Guinea.
The relief group released its assessment as the World Health Organization (WHO) and leaders of the affected countries met in Guinea Friday to finalize a $100 million emergency response plan.
WHO chief Margaret Chan said hundreds of additional health care workers will be deployed to the region. She said Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have agreed to send security forces to isolate rural areas where most cases of Ebola have been detected.
President Barack Obama said Friday that the United States is closely following the situation in West Africa ahead of a summit in the coming week in Washington for nearly 50 African leaders. He said African officials from at-risk countries will be screened for the disease before entering the United States.
The leaders of Sierra Leone and Liberia have canceled their summit trips to Washington because of the Ebola outbreak.
Ebola is one of several deadly viral diseases identified in recent years in Africa. All are hemorrhagic fevers. Ebola virus can travel to a healthy person who is exposed to the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person. Despite extensive research, no vaccine has yet been developed to protect against the Ebola virus.
Once infected, a person usually experiences extremely high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, pain throughout the body and — in the final stages — uncontrollable bleeding from the eyes, ears, nose and all other body openings. Previous outbreaks have been fatal for up to 90 percent of those infected, but the mortality rate may be lower for the current epidemic as doctors have kept a number of patients alive with prompt hospital treatment.
Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.