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Kent Brantly works at an Ebola treatment clinic in Foya, Liberia, on June 23. / Samaritan's Purse

Corrections & Clarifications: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of new Ebola cases and the survival rate for those infected.

A second American health worker infected with Ebola has left Liberia and was on her way to Atlanta for treatment on Tuesday. Health officials reported more deaths and cases worldwide, and more details surfaced on an experimental treatment.

Officials at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York admitted a man who had recently been to West Africa. He arrived at the emergency room early Monday with symptoms consistent with Ebola - high fever and gastrointestinal problems.

In a statement, Mount Sinai said, "The patient has been placed in strict isolation and is undergoing medical screenings to determine the cause of his symptoms. All necessary steps are being taken to ensure the safety of all patients, visitors and staff."

Monday evening, the New York City Health Department issued a statement saying the department, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Mount Sinai, had concluded "the patient is unlikely to have Ebola. Specimens are being tested for common causes of illness and to definitively exclude Ebola."

The toll from the Ebola virus outbreak spreading in West Africa has risen to 1,603 cases and 887 deaths, the World Health Organization said in an update Monday.

The week ending Aug. 1 saw 163 new cases and 61 deaths, the health agency said.

The newest numbers mean the overall death rate stands at 55%. Some previous Ebola outbreaks have had death rates up to 90%, and medical experts have speculated that faster, improved medical care may play a role.

There is no approved medicine or vaccine specifically for Ebola, but supportive care, including maintaining fluids, can help.

Two Americans stricken with the virus in Liberia may be showing signs of improvement after receiving additional experimental treatments there.

Physician Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol each "received a dose of an experimental serum while still in Liberia," Brantly's organization Samaritan's Purse said in a news release. "Dr. Brantly also received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy who had survived Ebola under his care."

An especially detailed report from CNN, quoting unnamed sources, says Writebol and Brantly received infusions of antibodies tested only in monkeys.

Writebol remains in serious but stable condition as she prepares to return to the USA for further treatment, her sponsoring organization, SIM USA, said in a statement Monday. She was aboard a chartered plane that took off at 1:12 a.m. local time Tuesday from Liberia's capital of Monrovia.

Writebol, who is to join Brantly in a special isolation unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, showed at least one sign of improvement over the weekend, says Bruce Johnson, president of the charity group: "Her husband, David, told me Sunday her appetite has improved, and she requested one of her favorite dishes ‚?? Liberian potato soup ‚?? and coffee."

Brantly also "seems to be improving," CDC Director Tom Frieden said Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation.

Emory wouldn't comment on the condition of the patient in isolation, to protect the patient's privacy, says Vince Dollard, a hospital spokesperson.

Infection with the Ebola virus causes fever and headache in early stages but can lead to hemorrhaging, liver failure and kidney failure and death in rapid progression.

CNN said the experimental treatment given to Brantly and Writebol is an antibody drug called ZMapp that was developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical.

That is one of several experimental therapies under development and previously untested in humans, says Thomas Geisbert, a professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Geisbert says he plans to test ZMapp in combination with other therapies.

If the two patients are improving after the treatment, "that's fantastic," he says ‚?? but it may be difficult to determine whether the treatment made the difference. "There are a reasonable number of people who live even without treatment. ‚?¶ The longer you can keep someone alive, the more likely your immune system kicks in and fights this off."

Brantly is the first person to be treated for the illness in the USA. Most of the cases in the current outbreak have originated in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Nigeria reported a second confirmed case Monday and three health workers who may be showing symptoms.

Guinean President Alpha Condé and senior officials from Liberia and Sierra Leone broke away from the U.S.-African Leaders Summit in Washington for private discussions about the Ebola outbreak with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and CDC's Frieden, the State Department said.

"The group identified national and regional priorities and held intensive discussions on the types of assistance needed to mount an effective response," the State Department said.

Contributing: Donna Leinwand Leger; the Associated Press



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: 2nd American Ebola patient en route to U.S. for care

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