HEALTH

2 Americans with Ebola to be flown back to U.S.

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WASHINGTON (ABC News/AP) - Two American patients stricken with Ebola are to be flown from Africa to the U.S., ABC News has learned.

The White House was coordinating options for bringing back the two aid workers sick with Ebola in Liberia. It would be the first time the disease is brought into the country.

The pair were identified as Dr. Kent Brantly of Samaritans Purse and Nancy Writebol, a missionary with the aid group SIM. Both organizations are based in North Carolina.

Brantly and Whritebol each remained in isolation Thursday and Writebol was receiving an experimental drug treatment, the mission groups said.

"I remain hopeful and believing that Kent will be healed from this dreadful disease," Brantly's wife, Amber, said in a statement. She and the couple's two young children left Liberia for Texas before her husband was infected, and she said they are fine.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that while the U.S. government would facilitate any transfer to the U.S., private companies would be used to transport them.

Earnest said that type of response would be consistent with how the U.S. handled other situations, including the SARS outbreak, and the goal would be to ensure Americans can benefit from treatment in the U.S.

Late Thursday, 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.

The hospital has a special isolation unit built in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control. It is one of only four facilities of its kind in the U.S.

The unit is physically separate from other areas, and hospital officials said staff are trained and fully prepared to care for the patient.

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