U.S. missionary with Ebola leaving Liberia Tuesday

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U.S. missionary with Ebola leaving Liberia Tuesday
Dr. Jay Varkey, an infectious disease specialist at Emory Healthcare, speaks with reporters, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014 in Atlanta. Varkey is part of a team of doctors who will treat the two American aid workers infected with the Ebola virus. The workers will be treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Alex Sanz)
A Nigerian health official wearing a protective suit waits to screen passengers at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Nigerian authorities on Monday confirmed a second case of Ebola in Africa's most populous country, an alarming setback as officials across the region battle to stop the spread of a disease that has killed more than 700 people. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
A Nigerian health official wearing a protective mask waits to screen passengers at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Nigerian authorities on Monday confirmed a second case of Ebola in Africa's most populous country, an alarming setback as officials across the region battle to stop the spread of a disease that has killed more than 700 people. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
A woman prays with others from different religious groups against the spread of the Ebola virus, in Monrovia, Liberia, Saturday Aug. 2, 2014. An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned, as presidents from the affected countries met Friday in Guinea's capital. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Women from different religious groups pray against the spread of the Ebola virus, in Monrovia, Liberia, Saturday Aug. 2, 2014. An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned as presidents from the affected countries met Friday in Guinea's capital. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
A man holds a newspaper featuring a front page story on the death of Liberian diplomat Patrick Sawyer (pictured with his wife Decontee) who died of the Ebloa virus in Lagos on July 30, 2014. Nigeria is on alert against the possible spread of Ebola after the first confirmed death from the virus in Lagos, Africa's biggest city and the country's financial capital. The victim, who worked for the Liberian government, collapsed at Lagos international airport after arriving on a flight from Monrovia via the Togolese capital Lome, according to the Nigerian government. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned that the crisis gripping Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone would only get worse and could not rule out it spreading to other countries. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
A man reads a newspaper with a headline announcing government efforts to screen for Ebola at a newsstand in Lagos on July 27, 2014. Nigeria was on alert against the possible spread of Ebola on July 27, a day after the first confirmed death from the virus in Lagos, Africa's biggest city and the country's financial capital. The health ministry said on July 25 that a 40-year-old Liberian man died at a private hospital in Lagos from the disease, which has now killed more than 650 people in four west African countries since January. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
Director of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, Professor Abdulsalam Nasidi, speaks during a briefing about Ebola outbreak in Lagos on July 28, 2014. Nigeria was on alert against the possible spread of Ebola on Saturday, a day after the first confirmed death from the virus in Lagos, Africa's biggest city and the country's financial capital. The health ministry said Friday that a 40-year-old Liberian man died at a private hospital in Lagos from the disease, which has now killed more than 650 people in four west African countries since January -- the deadliest outbreak in history. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on July 24, 2014 shows staff of the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse putting on protective gear in the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia. An American doctor battling West Africa's Ebola epidemic has himself fallen sick with the disease in Liberia, Samaritan's Purse said on July 27. AFP PHOTO / ZOOM DOSSO (Photo credit should read ZOOM DOSSO/AFP/Getty Images)
A 10-year-old boy receives treatment after being taken out of quarantine following his mother's death caused by the ebola virus, in the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse Ebola treatment center, at the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia, on July 24, 2014. A US doctor battling West Africa's Ebola epidemic has himself fallen sick with the disease in Liberia, Samaritan's Purse said on July 27. AFP PHOTO / ZOOM DOSSO (Photo credit should read ZOOM DOSSO/AFP/Getty Images)
A close up of newspaper front pages focusing on the Ebola outbreak, including a newspaper, left, reading 'Burn all bodies' in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history surpassed 700 deaths in West Africa as the World Health Organization on Thursday announced dozens of new fatalities. (AP Photo/Jonathan Paye-Layleh)
Graphic provides an update on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa; 3c x 4 inches; 146 mm x 101 mm;
People working for a petroleum company take part in an Ebola awareness campaign to try and prevent the deadly Ebola virus spreading in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Health authorities in Liberia ordered that all those who die from Ebola be cremated after communities opposed having the bodies buried nearby. Over the weekend, health authorities in the West African country encountered resistance while trying to bury 22 bodies in Johnsonville, outside the capital Monrovia. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
An ambulance arrives with Ebola victim Dr. Kent Brantly, right, to Emory University Hospital, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in Atlanta. Brantly, infected with the Ebola virus in Africa arrived in Atlanta for treatment Saturday, landing in a specially equipped plane at a military base, then being whisked away to one of the most sophisticated hospital isolation units in the country, officials say. (AP Photo/WSB-TV Atlanta) METRO ATLANTA TV OUT
In this 2014 photo provided by the Samaritan's Purse aid organization, Dr. Kent Brantly, left, treats an Ebola patient at the Samaritan's Purse Ebola Case Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia. On Saturday, July 26, 2014, the North Carolina-based aid organization said Brantly tested positive for the disease and was being treated at a hospital in Monrovia. (AP Photo/Samaritan's Purse)
Television news crews record a press conference at Emory University Hospital regarding the proposed treatment of two American aid workers who contracted Ebola in Africa at an isolated unit at the hospital to treat patients exposed to certain infectious diseases, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, in Atlanta. Dr. Bruce Ribner said Friday he had no personal safety concerns over treating the patients of the dangerous disease. Hospital officials did not identify the patients, citing confidentiality rules. They were previously identified as Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol. Ribner said one of the patients was expected to arrive Monday, while a second was expected several days later. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Dr. David Mcray, left, listens to a question during a news conference with Dr. Jason Brewington, center, and Dr. Darrin D'Agostino about fellow doctor Kent Brantly Monday, July 28, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Brantly is one of two American aid workers that have tested positive for the Ebola virus while working to combat an outbreak of the deadly disease at a hospital in Liberia. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Dr. David Mcray speaks about his friend and colleague Dr. Kent Brantly during a news conference Monday, July 28, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Brantly is one of two American aid workers that have tested positive for the Ebola virus while working to combat an outbreak of the deadly disease at a hospital in Liberia. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Dr. David Mcray reads a recent message sent to him by his friend and colleague Dr. Kent Brantly during a news conference Monday, July 28, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Brantly is one of two American aid workers that have tested positive for the Ebola virus while working to combat an outbreak of the deadly disease at a hospital in Liberia. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
In this undated photo released by the Center for Disease Control, a Aeromedical Biological Containment System which looks like a sealed isolation tent for Ebola air transportation is shown. On Thursday afternoon July 31, 2014, officials at Atlanta's Emory University Hospital said they expected one of the Americans to be transferred there "within the next several days." The hospital declined to identify which aid worker, citing privacy laws. (AP Photo/Center for Disease Control)
A private plane arrives at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta., Ga., Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. Officials at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta expect an American who is infected with the Ebola virus to be transported for treatment today. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
An ambulance is shown en route to Emory University Hospital after departing from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta., Ga., Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. Officials at Emory in Atlanta expect an American who is infected with the Ebola virus to be transported for treatment today. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
An ambulance arrives at Emory University Hospital transporting an American that was infected with the Ebola virus, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in Atlanta. A specially outfitted plane carrying Dr. Kent Brantly from West Africa arrived at a military base in Georgia. Brantly was taken to the Atlanta hospital. Another American with Ebola is expected to join him at the hospital in a few days. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Hospital workers pass police officers guarding an entrance to Emory University Hospital after an ambulance arrived transporting an American that was infected with the Ebola virus, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in Atlanta. A specially outfitted plane carrying Dr. Kent Brantly from West Africa arrived at a military base in Georgia. Brantly was taken to the Atlanta hospital. Another American with Ebola is expected to join him at the hospital in a few days. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A police officer clears an entrance to Emory University Hospital after ambulance arrived transporting an American that was infected with the Ebola virus, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in Atlanta. A specially outfitted plane carrying Dr. Kent Brantly from West Africa arrived at a military base in Georgia. Brantly was taken to the Atlanta hospital. Another American with Ebola is expected to join him at the hospital in a few days. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
This photo provided by Jeremy Writebol show his parents, David and Nancy Writebol, who are Christian missionaries in Liberia. Nancy Writebol is one of two Americans working for a missionary group in Liberia that have been diagnosed with Ebola. Plans are underway to bring back the two Americans from Africa for treatment. (AP Photo/Courtesy Jeremy Writebol)
This Oct. 7, 2013 photo provided by Jeremy Writebol show his mother, Nancy Writebol, with children in Liberia. Writebol is one of two Americans working for a missionary group in Liberia that have been diagnosed with Ebola. Plans are underway to bring back the two Americans from Africa for treatment. (AP Photo/Courtesy Jeremy Writebol)
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BY BILL BARROW AND KRISTA LARSON
Originally published: Aug 4, 12:13 AM EDT

ATLANTA (AP) -- A second American missionary stricken with Ebola is expected to fly Tuesday to the U.S. for treatment, following a colleague who was admitted over the weekend to Emory University Hospital's infectious disease unit.

A Liberian official confirmed to The Associated Press plans for to depart with a medical evacuation team. The official, Information Minister Lewis Brown, said the evacuation flight was scheduled to leave West Africa between 1 a.m. and 1.30 a.m. local time Tuesday.

Writebol's son, Jeremy Writebol of Wichita, Kansas, said his mother "is still struggling" but that "there seems to be improvement" and that the family is optimistic she will recover amid a spreading Ebola outbreak that has killed at least 729 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

The Writebols' mission team partner, Dr. Kent Brantly, also was improving Sunday after he was admitted to Emory's quarantine unit a day earlier, according to a statement from his wife.

"Our family is rejoicing over Kent's safe arrival, and we are confident that he is receiving the very best care," Amber Brantly said, adding that she was able to see her husband Sunday.

Brantly and Nancy Writebol served on the same mission team treating Ebola victims when they contracted the virus themselves. Brantly was serving as a physician in the hospital compound near Monrovia, Liberia, when he became infected. Writebol worked as a hygienist whose role included decontaminating those entering or leaving the Ebola treatment area at that hospital.

There is no cure for Ebola, which causes hemorrhagic fever that kills at least 60 percent of the people it infects in Africa. Ebola spreads through close contact with bodily fluids and blood, meaning it is not spread as easily as airborne influenza or the common cold. Africa's under-developed health care system and inadequate infection controls make it easier for the Ebola virus to spread and harder to treat.

Any modern hospital using standard infection-control measures should be able to handle it, and Emory's infectious disease unit is one of about four in the U.S. that is specially equipped to test and treat people exposed to the most dangerous viruses.

Patients are quarantined, sealed off from anyone who is not in protective gear. Lab tests are conducted inside the unit, ensuring that viruses don't leave the quarantined area. Family members can see and communicate with patients only through barriers.

Brantly arrived Saturday under stringent protocols, flying from West Africa to Dobbins Air Reserve base outside Atlanta in a small plane equipped to contain infectious diseases. A small police escort followed his ambulance to Emory, where he emerged dressed head to toe in white protective clothing and walked into the hospital on his own power.

A physician from Texas, Brantly is a Samaritan's Purse missionary. The Writebols are working through SIM USA. The two Christian organizations have partnered to provide health care in West Africa.

The Rev. John Munro, the Writebols' pastor at Calvary Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, described the couple as "quiet, unassuming people" who felt called by God" to go overseas 15 years ago.

Jeremy Writebol said his parents spent five years in Ecuador and nine years in Zambia before going to Liberia last August.

Munro added, "They take the Great Commission literally," a reference to the scriptural instruction from Jesus Christ to "make disciples of all nations."

Munro, whose church sponsors the Writebols' mission work, recalled speaking with the couple when the Ebola outbreak began. "We weren't telling them to come back; we were just willing to help them come back," he said. "They said, `The work isn't finished, and it must continue.'"

The outbreak comes as nearly 50 African heads of state come to Washington, D.C., for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit - billed as a tool for African nations to integrate more into the world economy and community. With the outbreak, however, the presidents of Liberia and Sierra Leone have scrapped their plans to attend the three-day summit opening Monday.

Meanwhile, some airlines that serve West Africa have suspended flights, while international groups, including the Peace Corps, have evacuated some or all of their representatives in the region.

In the United States, public health officials continue to emphasize that treating Brantly and Writebol in the U.S. poses no risks to the public here.

"We know how to control it: hospital infection control and stopping it at the source in Africa," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, speaking Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

Frieden's agency is ramping up its effort to combat the outbreak. He promised "50 staff on the ground" in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone "in the next 30 days."

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Larson reported from Dakar, Senegal. Associated Press reporter Roxana Hegeman in Wichita, Kansas, contributed to this report.

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