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Third American Dr. Rick Sacra Infected With Ebola While on Christian Mission in Africa

( [email protected] ) Sep 03, 2014 03:00 PM EDT

Rick Sacra
(Photo : Facebook)
Sacra is the third American aid worker to contract Ebola while serving in Africa.

Dr. Rick Sacra, a family doctor from Massachusetts, is the latest American to become infected with the Ebola virus while working in West Africa for the aid organization Serving In Mission (SIM).

Sacra had been to Liberia with SIM before, and heroically volunteered to go again even after he heard fellow missionaries Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantley had contracted the virus, SIM President Bruce Johnson said.

According to NBC News, the three have been friends for some time, having worked in the same field and for the same group.

Johnson announced Sacra's name at a news conference in which Writebol made her first public comments about her terrible ordeal.

From Charlotte, North Carolina, Writebol first thanked God, then her family, and health care workers in Liberia and Atlanta for nursing her back to health.

"I'm so grateful that this beautiful woman is still with me," her husband David said. "She is the best part of my life... I love her with all my heart."

Writebol first heard the news of Sacra's infection today and immediately volunteered to go back over to take care of him, but she is not well enough to do so yet.

"They are part of the family," Writebol said, gripping David's hand as she spoke. "To hear the news is very sad, (knowing) the whole cycle of the progression of the disease and how that story might end."

Sacra, 51, is a married physician from Holden, Massachusetts, according to CNN. He was not directly treating Ebola patients in Liberia during this trip, but was delivering babies at a general hospital in Monrovia, Johnson said.

The doctor started to show symptoms of Ebola on Friday evening. Health care workers did an Ebola test on Monday, which confirmed the deadly virus.

According to SIM, Sacra was following all protocols and taking all necessary precautions.   It is unclear how he became infected, and the CDC is working diligently to trace the point of contact.  

When asked if the organization was going to bring Sacra back to the United States for treatment, Johnson said all options were being explored.

Unfortunaelty, Sacra will not likely receive ZMapp, the experimental drug given to Writebol and Brantley, because there are no more doses available at this time.

About 50 percent of the people who have contracted the virus in the current outbreak have survived.  The virus has killed close to 2,000 people in the recent outbreak.

NBC News reached Sacra's brother Doug by phone, and he confirmed the diagnosis.

"My brother is the perfect example of Christian Self Sacrifice," Doug Sacra Said.