State News

NC missionaries evacuate amid Ebola threat

Posted July 30, 2014 8:09 a.m. EDT
Updated July 30, 2014 9:03 a.m. EDT

Two North Carolina-based missionary groups have announced plans to pull their people out of Liberia, where hundreds have died of the Ebola virus.

"This is a major epidemic," said Ken Isaacs, vice president of Samaritan's Purse. "People are not giving it the credibility that it deserves."

Among those battling the disease are two Americans – Nancy Writebol, of Charlotte, who works for Serving in Mission, and Dr. Kent Brantly, of Fort Worth, Texas, who works for Samaritan's Purse.

Writebol was working with a decontamination team in Monrovia, making sure those going and coming from the Ebola treatment area were disinfected.

"We think it was in the scrub-down area where the disease was passed to both Nancy and Kent," Isaacs told CNN.

Her son, Jeremy Writebol, told NBC's "Today" show Wednesday that his mother is able to move around the home where she's in isolation and has been able to get plenty of fluids.

"This is a devastating and deadly disease, so the symptoms are quite severe," a Samaritan's Purse spokeswoman said.

Jeremey Writebol said he's also concerned about his father, David Writebol, who was exposed before his wife learned of her condition. Jeremy Writebol said his father is feeling fine and is checking his temperature every six hours to monitor his condition.

The Writebols' Charlotte church plans to hold prayer service Wednesday night for her and Brantly. Representatives on Wednesday said neither was doing well.

Serving in Mission USA President Bruce Johnson announced Tuesday that his group and Samaritan's Purse decided on the evacuation following an upsurge in the number of Ebola cases in Liberia. Johnson said the logistics of the evacuation are being determined.

SIM spokesman Palmer Holt said approximately 60 employees will be evacuated. A statement from SIM says none of the evacuees is displaying any symptoms of Ebola, but all are being monitored continually.