CHARLOTTE, N.C. – David Writebol, whose wife Nancy is being treated for Ebola at a special isolation unit in Atlanta, returned to the United States Sunday night, along with two other doctors who had been treating Ebola patients in Monrovia, Liberia. All three landed at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in a private charter plane around 10:15 p.m., according to a press release from their missionary organization, SIM.
"We are excited to have these three missionaries safely back in the U.S.," Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA, said in the release. "They are all healthy and in good spirits, and we want to express our gratitude to all those involved in the effort to bring them back, and for the prayers of countless people around the world."
All three were cleared medically both before and after arriving in the United States, but will remain in quarantine at the SIM campus off of Choate Circle in southwest Charlotte. Ebola is only contagious if a patient is showing symptoms. All are staying in RVs at the back of the property. They're being monitored regularly, and have their temperature taken twice a day. "They're amazingly vibrant this morning when I was with them," Johnson said Monday afternoon at a news conference. They're passing the time by watching movies, and playing games like badminton.
Writebol and the two doctors don't have any symptoms, according to SIM, but will remain on campus for up to 21 days. The quarantine had started in Liberia, and SIM had been working with Mecklenburg County's Health Department to make preparations for the quarantine here.
Dr. Stephen Keener, Mecklenburg County's medical director, says there's no cause for concern that others would be infected. Quarantine is a preventative measure – it doesn't mean that a patient is sick. Because each missionary started quarantine at different times, some could be released earlier than three weeks.
Once that time is up, the doctors, who are not from Charlotte, hope to eventually return to Africa. "Their hearts and minds are in Liberia," Johnson said. David Writebol will travel to Atlanta to see his wife at Emory University Hospital, where she's being treated. "He's looking forward to being reunited." said Johnson.