Missionaries exposed to Ebola virus arrive in Charlotte - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Missionaries exposed to Ebola virus arrive in Charlotte

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The Director of Mecklenburg County's Health Department says three missionaries who were serving in the Ebola hot zone in Liberia are now in quarantine and showing no symptoms of the virus.

They arrived at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport by private charter Sunday night.

Among the three is David Writebol, husband of Charlotte resident and SIM missionary Nancy Writebol, who is being treated for the Ebola virus at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. The other two missionaries are SIM doctors who have been treating Ebola patients at SIM's ELWA medical facilities in Monrovia, Liberia.

Officials say the names of the other two doctors are being withheld to protect their privacy and that of their families.

The missionaries will be staying on the SIM campus in southwest Charlotte, in an area reserved as an RV park with 60 acres of space.

Meals will be delivered the missionaries, their temperatures will be taken four times a day, and they will be ordered to stay 3-feet away from others to prevent any potential spreading of the virus.

Dr. Stephen Keener, medical director for the Mecklenburg County Health Department, said the missionaries were under quarantine in Liberia and the quarantine will continue in Charlotte until 21 days after the last date of exposure to the virus, when the incubation period has ended.

He called the situation of quarantine on the SIM campus ideal because it's private and easy to limit access.

Exposure to Ebola includes direct contact with bodily fluids, like blood. The Ebola virus is not spread through the air.

Keener said the department has worked with state health officials and the hospital system to coordinate a response. He emphasized that none of the missionaries is sick, or showing any symptoms of Ebola.

Keener said the quarantine is a preventative measure, and at this time public health officials feel there is no cause for concern.

"Quarantine is a public health measure to protect the public that requires healthy people who were exposed to a disease to be prevented from contact with others until it is certain that they are not infected," Keener said in a press release Sunday.

"Each was checked and cleared medically before boarding the flight from Liberia to the U.S.  Each was also checked and found healthy by Mecklenburg County (N.C.) Public Health communicable disease specialists upon arrival in Charlotte," SIMS officials said in a statement released on Monday.

The outbreak in west Africa is the worst recorded Ebola outbreak according to the World Health Organization.

Nancy Writebol's colleague, Dr. Kent Brantly, is also being treated for the Ebola virus in Atlanta. Brantly was working with Ebola patients at the time of his exposure.

Bruce Johnson, who leads SIM USA, said he met with the missionaries Monday morning and they are all doing well.

Johnson said six children and two adults were previously flown back to Charlotte from Liberia and placed under voluntary quarantine on the SIM campus. It was not a quarantine order, because the group did not have direct exposure to the Ebola virus.

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