Local woman's Ebola fight doesn't stop volunteers

Volunteers sign up despite Ebola outbreak that has affected a local woman.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A Charlotte woman who contracted the Ebola virus while doing missionary work in Africa is in stable condition, officials said Monday.

Nancy Writebol remains in quarantine and is one of two Americans who contracted Ebola in Liberia, which is one of a handful of African countries battling a massive outbreak that has killed at least 1,200 people.

If anything might scare people away from doing missionary work, it's the threat of losing your life to a deadly disease with no cure, far from home. But some local church leaders say Writebol's fight could have the opposite effect and entice more people to help.

Ghana Mission United Methodist Church Reverend Emmanuel Boakye-Jiadom says a parishioner just signed up for his fourth mission to Africa, despite the outbreak.

"As long as we're being directed by God to go to areas where this is a need, I believe that as long as there's a protocol, there's no sense of fear," Boakye-Jiadom said.

Writebol and her husband David, who has not tested positive for Ebola, have spent a dozen years doing missionary work in Africa and refused to leave after this spring's outbreak.

She decontaminated doctors and nurses who work with Ebola patients and apparently came into contact with someone who died a day after becoming ill.

"We are examining all of our policies, all of our procedures, all of our protocols to see if we can identity how this infection happened," said Ken Isaacs with Samaritan's Purse. Nancy and David Writebol are part of a group working for the North Carolina-based Samaritan's Purse.

Those operating protocols are determined by the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization and the people following them, like Writebol, are heavily trained volunteers, officials said.

A Samaritan's Purse spokesperson says there are no operational changes.

Writebol's infection was caught early, which could be the key to survival. There's no vaccine for Ebola, but heavy doses of pain medication early gives her a fighting chance.


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