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2 U.S. Ebola Patients Released From Hospital

Americans Got Experimental Drug continued...

“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.

Ribner said both patients may need some time to regain their strength, but that neither should have long-term complications.

“This is a fairly devastating disease. But most patients, if they have not had any substantial organ damage, will make a complete recovery,” he said.

Ribner declined to give specifics of what the medical team had learned by treating the two patients, but said they were in the process of gathering that information. He said he hopes to publish some of the details of their clinical experience in medical journals. The rest will be sent more rapidly to doctors who are working on the front lines of the epidemic.

“We are in the process of developing several new guidelines which will be disseminated to the practitioners in Africa,” he said.


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