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Update on Two Americans Contracting Ebola, Samaritan’s Purse Evacuates Non-Essential Personnel

Update on Conditions of American Doctor and Missionary Being Treated for Ebola in Liberia

July 30, 2014. Dr. Kent Brantly, a doctor working for Samaritan’s Purse, and Nancy Writebol, a missionary with SIM, have shown a slight improvement in the past 24 hours. However, both remain in serious condition in Liberia, where they are being treated for Ebola.

Because of instability and ongoing security issues in the area, Samaritan’s Purse is making arrangements for nonessential personnel to leave the country.

We ask that people continue to pray for Kent and Nancy and all those who are affected by Ebola, and the tremendous group of doctors and nurses who are caring for them.

Family Statement from Doctor with Ebola

July 29, 2014. From Amber Brantly and her immediate family:

“We appreciate so much all the words of comfort and acts of kindness extended to our family.

“As people with a deep faith in Jesus, we sincerely thank the thousands of people worldwide who have lifted up Kent and this dreadful situation in prayer. We continue to lean on that faith and take great consolation in our God in these times.

“Amber and their two children are staying in an undisclosed location to protect their privacy. We continue to believe that God will deliver Kent from this deadly virus.

“We have a strong family unit within a stronger faith community that has given us incredible support. Kent remains very physically weak, but his spirit has been determined throughout this ordeal.

“This is a challenging time for our family. We will not be speaking to the media at this time. We ask that you respect our privacy.

“We ask for your continued prayers for Kent, his colleague Nancy Writebol and the healthcare workers in Liberia struggling to meet the overwhelming demands of those who are sick with the Ebola virus as well as patients who have come to that hospital with other needs.”

Two Americans, including Samaritan’s Purse Doctor, Contract Ebola

July 29, 2014. Two Americans working to battle Ebola in Liberia, including a Samaritan’s Purse doctor, have tested positive for the terrible virus and are fighting for their lives.

Dr. Kent Brantly, medical director for the Samaritan’s Purse care center serving the Liberian capital of Monrovia, and Nancy Writebol, part of the joint Serving In Mission/Samaritan’s Purse team, are currently undergoing intensive treatment at an isolation center at ELWA Hospital.

“We are doing everything possible to help Dr. Brantly and Nancy,” Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham said. “We ask everyone to please pray urgently for them and their families.”

Dr. Brantly, a family practice physician, was serving in Liberia through the post-residency program before joining the medical team responding to the Ebola crisis. His wife and two children had been living with him in Liberia but flew home to the U.S. about a week ago, before he started showing any signs of illness.

Last week, Dr. Brantly recognized that he had symptoms associated with Ebola, and immediately isolated himself.

Writebol works with SIM, which manages ELWA Hospital. The two organizations have been working closely to combat Ebola since the current outbreak began in Liberia in March. She had been working as a hygienist who decontaminated those entering and leaving the isolation ward of the Case Management Center at the hospital. She is married with two children.

“Their heroic and sacrificial service—along with the entire team there—is a shining example of Christ’s love in this crisis situation,” Graham said.

The two cases underscore the seriousness of the horrific outbreak that is spreading throughout Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea and infecting hundreds of people at an unprecedented rate. The deadly disease, which causes massive internal bleeding and has a mortality rate of 60 to 90 percent in most situations, has claimed more than 670 lives.

In the span of 32 years (1976-2008), the Ebola virus infected 2,232 people in remote village areas and killed 1,503. Just since early this year, the mortality rate has already claimed nearly a third of those fatalities as it has infiltrated three capital cities with populations in the millions.

Samaritan’s Purse is working in cooperation with Liberia’s Ministry of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United Nations agencies including the World Health Organization (WHO), and other NGOs to provide life-saving medical care for patients at ELWA Hospital near Monrovia and in Foya in northern Liberia.

Medical personnel have been treating patients through a method called barrier nursing, which eliminates skin-to-skin contact through thick, layered protective suits that are decontaminated each time a person leaves the isolation unit.

Dr. Brantly completed his residency in family medicine at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, before joining the post-residency program.

“There’s an incredible level of braveness in Kent,” Robert Earley, president and CEO of JPS Health Network, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “You don’t meet people like this every day.”

Dr. Brantly attended Southside Church of Christ in Fort Worth while working as a resident at John Peter Smith. At the Sunday morning service, there was a special prayer time for the doctor and his family.

“People are still taking it in,” Jason Brewington, a church member who worked with Brantly told the Dallas Morning News. “It’s just hard to believe there can be a virus so deadly.”

Samaritan’s Purse Doctors Now Directing Efforts at Ebola Isolation Center in Liberia as Outbreak Continues to Spread

July 9, 2014. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to spread at a frightening rate, killing hundreds of people with many more now testing positive for the highly contagious virus. As part of the effort to help contain the outbreak, international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse has now assumed responsibility for operating an Ebola isolation center in Liberia. The facility, also known as a case management center, is located in Foya near the border with Guinea—ground zero in Liberia’s battle against this killer virus and the only treatment point in that area as the disease continues to breach the border.

The Ebola outbreak began in Guinea and has now spread to the countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone. The virus causes massive internal bleeding and has a mortality rate of up to 90 percent.

Samaritan’s Purse has been responding to the outbreak since March and has now intensified efforts by sending additional teams of doctors, nurses and relief experts to Liberia. These medical teams are providing direct clinical care to people infected with the killer virus, not only at the clinic in Foya, but also at a treatment and isolation center at ELWA Hospital just outside Monrovia, Liberia’s capital.

But an essential component of the Samaritan’s Purse effort is to reach people before they need medical treatment. So far the organization has trained more than 400,000 people in hygiene awareness to help reduce the risk of them catching and spreading the Ebola virus.

“This is the largest outbreak of Ebola since it was first discovered in 1976 and it is the largest outbreak in Western Africa, with cases now showing up in national capital cities,” said Ken Isaacs, vice president of programs and government relations for Samaritan’s Purse. “Along with medical treatment, awareness and education are the keys to containing this outbreak.”

Samaritan’s Purse aircraft are being used to ship critical supplies and medical personnel. The organization is working closely with the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and government health officials.

Samaritan’s Purse is an international Christian relief and evangelism organization that has been working in Liberia since 2003. The organization partners with local churches and missions to meet the medical, food, water and education needs of people across the country.

Based in Boone, Samaritan’s Purse responds to the physical and spiritual needs of individuals in crisis situations—especially in locations where few others are working. Led by president and CEO Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse works in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution. For more information, visit samaritanspurse.org.