Dr. Kent Brantly, right, was infected with ebola while treating outbreak victims in Liberia. Reuters/Samaritan's Purse
An American doctor stricken with the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia and brought to the United States for treatment in a special isolation ward is improving, the top U.S. health official said on Sunday.
Dr. Kent Brantly, a 33-year-old father of two young children, was able to walk, with help, from an ambulance after he was flown on Saturday to Atlanta, where he was being treated by infectious disease specialists at Emory University Hospital.
"It's encouraging that he seems to be improving — that's really important — and we're hoping he'll continue to improve," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, said on "Face the Nation."
Frieden told the program it was too soon to predict whether Brantly would survive, but said it was unlikely that Brantly's wife and children, who left Liberia shortly before he began exhibiting symptoms, had contracted the disease.
People who are exposed to Ebola but are not sick cannot infect others, Frieden said. Brantly, who works for the North Carolina-based Christian organization Samaritan's Purse, had been in Liberia responding to the worst Ebola outbreak on record when he contracted the disease. Since February, more than 700 people in West Africa have died from the infection.
Ebola is a hemorrhagic virus with a death rate of up to 90 percent of those who become infected. The fatality rate in the current epidemic is about 60 percent.