Two U.S. citizens who have been infected by the Ebola virus in West Africa will be flown back to the United States for treatment in the coming days, the U.S. State Department said Friday.
A non-commercial aircraft as well as protocols and equipment of the U.S. the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be used for the medical evacuation "so that they are carried out safely, thereby protecting the patient and the American public," deputy spokesperson for the Department Marie Harf said in a statement.
"Every precaution is being taken to move the patients safely and securely, to provide critical care en route on a non- commercial aircraft, and to maintain strict isolation upon arrival in the United States," Harf said.
"Upon arriving in the United States, the patients will be taken to medical facilities with appropriate isolation and treatment capabilities."
Citing privacy considerations, the State Department would not confirm the names or other specific details of the two patients.
Samaritan's Purse, a Christian aid group, however, confirmed that one of its doctors in Liberia, Kent Brantly, and missionary Nancy Writebol were stricken with the Ebola virus.
"We are grateful that Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol made it through the night," Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham said in a statement Friday. "They remain in serious condition."
Graham said the evacuation of the two is underway and "could be complete early in the week."
Emory University Hospital in the U.S. state of Georgia confirmed in a statement that it is prepared and ready to receive a patient with Ebola virus infection within the next several days. But the statement added that it's unclear when the patient will arrive.
On Thursday, the U.S. government issued a warning against nonessential travel to West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, saying it reflects the "worsening" Ebola outbreak in this region.
According to the World Health Organization, the disease has killed 729 people and affected more than 1,300 this year.