The husband of an American missionary hospitalized with the deadly Ebola virus is among three missionaries who were quarantined after arriving in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday night, the North Carolina-based SIM USA announced Monday.
David Writebol was placed in quarantine on a private section of SIM USA’s campus in Charlotte. He is the husband of Nancy Writebol, one of two Americans being treated for Ebola at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
David Writebol arrived with two other missionaries, described as doctors who have treated Ebola patients at SIM USA’s hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. All three have been quarantined, mission officials said at a news conference in Charlotte.
The missionaries were in good health and showed no symptoms of the disease that has killed more than 900 people in West Africa, state health officials said. They said the quarantine was strictly precautionary.
“This measure is being taken out of an abundance of caution, and it is important to remember that there are no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in North Carolina,” the state Department of Health and Human Services and the Mecklenburg County Health Department said in a joint statement.
North Carolina public health officials are requiring the missionaries to be quarantined 21 days past their last exposure to the deadly virus. Ebola’s incubation period ranges from two to 21 days.
The missionairies had been serving in Liberia, where Nancy Writebol, 59, and a missionary doctor, Kent Brantly, 33, contracted the virus.
Brantly said in a statement from his isolation ward in Atlanta last week that he was “growing stronger every day.” In a statement posted on the SIM USA website last week, David Writebol said his wife’s condition was improving.
The website posted a photo of David Writebol smiling and dressed in an orange sport shirt as he stepped off a chartered flight Sunday. The mission group said he intends to visit his wife’s isolation ward in Atlanta as soon as he completes his quarantine.
A total of 1,779 Ebola cases, including 961 deaths, have been reported in the African nations of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, according to the latest Ebola update by the World Health Organization.
There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the Ebola virus, which causes fever, vomiting, diarrhea and massive internal bleeding, and has a fatality rate of 45% to 90%. Ebola is spread through direct contact with the blood, organs or bodily secretions of infected people.
People who are infected with the hemorrhagic virus experience sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and headaches, along with vomiting and diarrhea. The disease can also cause kidney and liver failure, as well as internal bleeding.