2 U.S. Ebola Patients Released From Hospital
Aug. 21, 2014 -- Two Americans infected with Ebola as they cared for patients in West Africa have fully recovered and have been discharged from the Atlanta hospital where they were treated, officials said.
“After a rigorous course of treatment and thorough testing we have determined, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and state health departments, that Dr. [Kent] Brantly has recovered from the Ebola virus infection and he can return to his family, his community, and his life without public health concerns,” said Bruce Ribner, MD, the infectious disease specialist at Emory University Hospital who supervised his care.
The hospital also announced that Nancy Writebol, 58, was released from the hospital on Tuesday. Writebol and her husband are together at an undisclosed location. She was serving as a missionary for the Christian mission organization SIM, on a joint team with Brantly, when she contracted Ebola.
“There is no evidence of Ebola virus infection in their bodies,” Ribner said.
He said there is also no evidence that people who are free from the virus can continue to be carriers of the disease or that their infections could return.
At an emotional news conference at Emory on Thursday, Brantly, 33, thanked the doctors and nurses who cared for him during his illness, the people who helped him get an experimental drug, thousands of well-wishers who have been praying for his recovery, and God.
“Today is a miraculous day. I’m thrilled to be alive, to be well, and to be reunited with my family,” he said.
“I’m glad for any attention my sickness has attracted to the plight of West Africa in the midst of this epidemic,” he said.
Richard Furman, MD, a retired surgeon and board member with Samaritan’s Purse, the organization Brantly was working for in Liberia when he was infected, predicted Brantly will return to Africa.
“I can’t say he’d go back to ELWA Hospital, but that’s the plan,” he said.
Furman said the organization is poised to deploy 23 more young doctors like Brantly to its mission hospitals.
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.