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WHO Urges Screening of Travelers to Contain Ebola

Officials stress that transmission of virus requires direct contact with infected person
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David Writebol was quarantined after his wife, a missionary, came down with Ebola while in Africa. He said he was released from supervision and enjoyed a through-the-looking-glass reunion Sunday with his wife in Atlanta, USA Today reported.

Nancy Writebol and fellow missionary Dr. Kent Brantly were transferred to Emory for treatment after they had become infected with Ebola.

David Writebol said the reunion with his wife took place through the window of her medical isolation unit, USA Today reported.

"I have had the great joy to be able to look through the isolation room glass and see my beautiful wife again," he said in a statement. "We both placed our hands on opposite sides of the glass, moved with tears to look at each other again. She was standing with her radiant smile, happy beyond words. She is continuing to slowly gain strength, eager for the day when the barriers separating us are set aside, and we can simply hold each other."

Both Writebol and Brantly face a long, challenging road to full recovery, but shouldn't endure long-term illness or disability because of their brush with the deadly pathogen, according to one of the United States' most experienced Ebola experts.

Both patients likely will spend weeks, if not months, regaining their strength and body weight following the ravages of Ebola, Dr. Joseph McCormick, regional dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health in Brownsville, told HealthDay.

But they most likely haven't suffered any permanent organ damage or contracted a lasting chronic illness from the virus, McCormick said, and ought to emerge from their struggle with immune resistance against future Ebola infection.

He said most survivors "get pretty much back to normal" over time, but admitted "this is something we know less about than we should."

McCormick is one of the very few U.S. physicians with first-hand experience with Ebola. As an officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he belonged to the team that investigated the first Ebola epidemic in 1976, which occurred in the Congo, as well as the next two African outbreaks of Ebola.

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