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Feelings are mixed on Ebola patients returning to US

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — WSOC-TV has received emails, tweets and posts on our Facebook page from people who do not agree with the decision to bring the patients battling the ebola virus from Africa to the U.S. for treatment.

Dr. Kent Brantly and Charlotte missionary Nancy Writebol contracted the virus in Liberia while treating other Ebola patients through Samaritan’s Purse.

Chelsea wrote on WSOC’s Facebook page, “Leave them over there! What about the rest of the nation they are putting at risk! I’m sorry, and forgive me if this sounds harsh but bringing them home is not worth putting 300 million lives at risk.”

Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol (Image: WSOC-TV)

Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol (Image: WSOC-TV)

While Sue sent an email to Channel 9 saying, “Am I the only one who thinks transporting someone with ebola is a ridiculous and dangerous idea? Can this be stopped? Going to Atlanta to a special “isolation” unit is in no way a safe thing.”

Channel 9 took their concerns to a local expert who said people should not worry about Ebola spreading in the U.S.

“It is direct contact from bodily fluid so it’s not something that will spread in the air like wildfire,” said Dr. Katie Passaretti, medical director of the Department of Infectious Diseases. “It’s not like influenza where we worry about big crowds of people spreading it without even knowing from person to person.”

The State Department said it’s taking every precaution with the CDC to get the patients back the U.S. while keeping Americans safe.

They’re being transported on a specially equipped plane and will remain isolation while being treated.

Passaretti said being back in the U.S. will afford them a level of care that’s not available in West Africa.

“These people have put themselves in harm’s way to try to do what’s best for people that have no resources. So it certainly sounds like they are fighters and hopefully they will make it through,” she said.

STATEMENT: Medical Evacuations of Two U.S. Citizens From West Africa

The State Department, together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is facilitating a medical evacuation for two U.S. citizens who have been infected by Ebola in West Africa. The safety and security of U.S. citizens is our paramount concern. Every precaution is being taken to move the patients safely and securely, to provide critical care en route on a non-commercial aircraft, and to maintain strict isolation upon arrival in the United States.

These evacuations will take place over the coming days. CDC protocols and equipment are used for these kinds of medical evacuations so that they are carried out safely, thereby protecting the patient and the American public, as has been done with similar medical evacuations in the past.

Upon arriving in the United States, the patients will be taken to medical facilities with appropriate isolation and treatment capabilities.

Because of privacy considerations, we will not be able to confirm the names or other specific details of these particular cases.

For matters relating to public health precautions in the United States, we would refer to the CDC, which has the overall lead role on those issues within the U.S. Government.


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