The first person diagnosed with the Ebola virus in New York received a transfusion of blood plasma on Friday from an aid worker who got infected with the disease in West Africa and survived.
Doctors Without Borders’ Dr. Craig Spencer received a blood plasma from Nancy Writebol, who worked for the Christian aid organization SIM. Writebol was treated at the Emory Hospital in Georgia last August, Fox News reported. SIM confirmed the donation on Saturday.
“I am praying for Dr. Spencer’s recovery and am happy to be able to donate blood,” Writebol said.
Blood transfusions from survivors have been used to treat Ebola patients, including Nina Pham, the nurse who attended to Liberian man Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed and died of the disease in the U.S.
Doctors are now administering plasma treatment to Spencer, who is confined at Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital since he was diagnosed with the disease on Thursday. The hospital said that he is “entering the next phase of his illness,” which includes appearance of gastrointestinal symptoms, as expected, but did not say whether his condition is worsening, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“We’ve seen with this disease that it continues to get worse before it gets better,” said Mary Travis Bassett, the city’s health commissioner.
The hospital said that he is “awake and communicating.”
His fiancée, Morgan Dixon, was discharged from the hospital on Saturday but will continue to be under mandatory quarantine for 21 days at the apartment she shares with Spencer, Bassett said. Dixon had close contact with the ailing doctor since he arrived in the U.S. on October 17 and was with him when he was diagnosed with the disease.
Two other people who had close contact with Spencer are also under strict monitoring at their homes.