Emory University Hospital in Atlanta prepares for Ebola victims

Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantley
Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantley

(CNN) — Two Americans infected with the Ebola virus are heading back to the U.S.

So what is the hospital doing to prepare?

The high stakes return of Ebola infected health care workers is underway.

The Gulfstream jet equipped with an isolation pod touching down for refueling early Friday at this remote Portuguese air base in the Atlantic before continuing on to Liberia.

That’s where Dr. Kent Brantley and Nancy Writebol continue to fight for survival.

Both are said to be in serious condition but evaluated to be stable enough to travel. Officials say they’ll be brought to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

“We have been informed there will be in fact two patients ultimately coming to Emory. The first will come in the next several days, and then a second patient will be coming a few days after,” Dr. Bruce Ribner said.

Emory is one of four facilities in the U.S. with a highly specialized, isolation unit to treat people with serious infectious diseases.

Americans in the three Ebola stricken countries are fleeing the epidemic after the U.S. government warned against non-essential travel, like Jerrel Gilliam who cut short his research trip to Sierra Leone.

The Penn State fellow talked to CNN from Sierra Leone’s airport where he’d just gone through enhanced screening.

“As soon as you get into the arrivals area you are prompted to fill out a form asking if you’ve been showing any symptoms of Ebola over the last few weeks or so… After you fill out that form, a gentleman in full medical gear with a breathing mask and gloves looks at that form and then he takes your temperature,” Gilliam said.

But the screening is not foolproof. The incubation period for Ebola is 21 days and the system heavily relies on the honor system.

“If someone is trying to get out of the country, and they’re filling out this form, then they’re going to check ‘no.’ Even if they had experienced a fever in the last few weeks,” Gilliam said.

The CDC predicts it will take at least three months to contain the epidemic in West Africa and says in that time some 10-thousand people will have traveled from those countries into the U.S.

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