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2 U.S. Ebola Patients Released From Hospital

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Ribner said that based on 40 years of experience with Ebola infections, he believes it’s unlikely that Brantly could catch the same strain again, though he would not be immune to other strains of the disease.

The six doctors and 21 nurses who cared for Brantly beamed and applauded as he finished his remarks. Brantly and his wife, Amber, who is a nurse, hugged each member of his care team before walking through a gauntlet of cameras as they left.  

“We need some time together after spending more than a month apart,” he said.

Americans Got Experimental Drug

Ribner said he does not know what role, if any, the experimental treatment the two received, ZMapp, played in their recovery.

“They are the very first individuals to ever receive this agent,” he said. “Frankly, we do not know if it helped them, if it made no difference, or even, theoretically, if it delayed their recovery.”

Since Writebol and Brantly received their doses of ZMapp, two doctors and one nurse in Liberia have received it, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). “The nurse and one of the doctors show a marked improvement,” the WHO said. “The condition of the second doctor is serious but has improved somewhat.”

A 75-year-old Spanish priest who contracted Ebola in Liberia died despite getting ZMapp.

On Aug. 12, drugmaker Dreyfus reported on its web site that the supply of ZMapp has been exhausted.

Life After the Hospital

Ribner said the decision to discharge Ebola patients is made on a case-by-case basis, but guidelines say blood tests need to show patients are free from the virus and they need to be free of symptoms for 2 to 3 days before their release.

Ribner said they did not test other body fluids, even though studies have shown that in rare cases the virus can live in fluids like semen and breast milk for months after infection.

“That’s not a likely mode of transmission,” Ribner said.

Also, he said the CDC has developed guidelines for patients to be counseled about the use of prophylactics like condoms and that both patients had been given that guidance.

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