Doctor With Ebola Virus Offers Only Serum Dose to Colleague

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 06:19 PM

By Cathy Burke

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A doctor stricken with the Ebola virus asked that his colleague, a missionary worker also sick with the virus, be given the only dose available of an experimental serum to treat the disease, an evangelical Christian charity based in North Carolina said Thursday.

Americans Dr. Kent Brantly, who works for charity Samaritan's Purse, took a slight turn for the worse Wednesday night, while the condition of Nancy Writebol, a missionary for SIM USA who's from Charlotte, N.C., and also sick with Ebola, worsened Thursday, WSCO-TV reports. 

Both Brantly and Writebol remain in "stable, but grave condition," Samaritan's Purse reported.

The charity, in a statement, said an experimental serum for treating Ebola arrived in Liberia Wednesday, but there was only enough for one person.

"Dr. Brantly asked that it be given to Nancy Writebol," Samaritan's Purse head Franklin Graham said.

"However, Dr. Brantly received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy who has survived Ebola because of Dr. Brantly's care. The young boy and his family wanted to be able to help the doctor that saved his life."

President of SIM USA Bruce Johnson said the organization was praying for Writebol's full recovery.

"Even though her condition has worsened, we know she is receiving the best possible medical care, and we are thankful that she has access to this experimental drug," Johnson said in a statement. "We believe in the power of prayer and ask people around the world not only to pray for Nancy and Kent, but also for everyone affected by this terrible virus.”

Writebol's son, Jeremy, said his mom was "tired and she's wearied and a bit sad as well."

"I know it's been hard because she never imagined that this would be something that she would have to deal with," he said, WSCO-TV reports.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thursday warned Americans not to travel to the three West African countries hit by the Ebola outbreak – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the deadly disease has killed more than 700 people this year.

"The bottom line is Ebola is worsening in West Africa," said the CDC's director, Dr. Tom Frieden, who called Ebola "a tragic, dreadful and merciless virus."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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