Ebola survivor from Charlotte speaks for first time

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - After weeks of battling Ebola, a North Carolina missionary spoke publicly for the first time about her fight to survive the deadly virus.

Nancy Writebol spoke for the first time publicly Wednesday after recovering from the deadly Ebola virus.

Writebol and her husband David spoke from SIM USA headquarters in south Charlotte.

David Writebol spoke first about their time in Liberia. He said he and his wife read scripture and prayed while she was suffering from Ebola.

David said he is thankful that Nancy is still with him and he continues to tell her she is the most beautiful woman in the world.

IMAGES: Ebola survivor Nancy Writebol speaks for first time

He thanked others for the prayers, thoughts, cards and letters they have received from around the world.

David also thanked all of the doctors who helped Nancy recover from the deadly virus.

Nancy spoke after her husband and said it is wonderful and a privilege to be here. She thanked people who have been a part of her story.

She said she didn’t feel well and initially thought it was malaria. She was tested for malaria and started taking medication for it.



Then a couple days later, she still was not feeling good and was running a fever.  She then took an Ebola test, which turned out to be positive.

Nancy said later that night she learned that Dr. Kent Brantly had Ebola and she said her heart sank.  David then told her she had Ebola.

She said David went to put his arms around her to comfort her and she stopped him.

“It’s going to OK,” she said after learning the news.

Nancy said there was no fear and whether she lived or she died, it was going to be OK.

RAW: Nancy Writebol, missionary who survived Ebola, speaks

She talked about the day she was put on an airplane in Liberia and said goodbye to David. 

Nancy described when they put her on the baggage conveyer belt on a stretcher.  She said a doctor said to her, “Nancy, you are going home. We are going to take good care of you.”

She said she wasn’t sure if she was going to make it or if she would ever see her husband again.

Nancy said there were some dark days in her recovery.



She said the doctors were unsure if she would be able to walk and might have to rehab.  But then one day she just got up and walked to the bathroom to take a shower.

Every day from that point, she was able to walk with help or without help. She said every day there were small signs of progress.

She thanked the Lord for saving her life.  She said there were many times that she didn’t think she would make it.

Nancy thanked the doctors in Liberia who treated her and Brantly before they came back to the U.S.

She said it was a great privilege to be able to help patients and dress doctors and nurses before they entered the Ebola treatment area.

Nancy also thanked the doctors and nurses at Emory University Hospital.  She also thanked everyone who prayed for her during this time.

She thanked both of her sons and their wives for being in Atlanta the entire time of her treatment. She said they have been so supportive and she can’t wait to put her arms around them and her grandchildren.

Nancy said it was a joy to be in Liberia. 

“It was a wonderful place to be and work,” she said.

She was released from Emory Hospital on Aug. 19 and spent time with her husband at an undisclosed location.

Another doctor diagnosed with Ebola

The news conference comes one day after the charity announced that an American doctor treating obstetrics patients at its hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, has tested positive for Ebola.

SIM president Bruce Johnson announced that doctor is Dr. Rick Sacra, a 51-year-0ld veteran doctor from Boston.

Johnson said Sacra is in good spirits, communicating with family via cell phone and internet.

He said they are exploring all options about Sacra's care, including bringing him back to the U.S.

SPECIAL SECTION: Ebola outbreak

It is not yet known how Sacra contracted the virus.


CDC: Ebola epidemic spreading across many countries


The Centers for Disease Control said the Ebola outbreak is much worse than what official figures show.

The director of the CDC said they have seen outbreaks before, but this is the first epidemic spreading across many countries.

Officials said more than 2,600 people have been infected by the virus in West Africa since the outbreak began in December.

Fifteen hundred have died.

IMAGES: Ebola outbreak facts

“What we're seeing is a spiraling of cases, really a hugely fast increasing basis that's harder and harder to manage,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden.

Just last week, Senegal confirmed its first Ebola case, one week after losing its border with Guinea.

Senegal is the fifth country in the region to report the virus.

Meanwhile, the first human trial is starting this week to test a possible Ebola vaccine.

It's different from the experimental Z-Mapp drug given to Charlotte missionary Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly.

The National Institutes of Health said the vaccine they are testing has done well in primate studies.

Researchers will use the study to determine whether the vaccine is safe. None of the test subjects is being infected with the deadly virus.