Two US aid workers released from Atlanta hospital after being cleared of Ebola

Blood tests show no evidence of virus and symptoms had eased

Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 01:00

Two American aid workers who just weeks ago were gravely ill with Ebola they contracted in Liberia now pose no health risk to the public after being cleared of the virus and released from an Atlanta hospital, one of their doctors said yesterday.

Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who both contracted the deadly virus while working for Christian organisations, were discharged after blood tests showed no evidence of the virus and symptoms had eased, said Dr Bruce Ribner, medical director of the infectious disease unit at Emory University Hospital.

They are likely to make a complete recovery from the disease that has killed 1,350 people in West Africa, Dr Ribner said.

“I am forever thankful to God for sparing my life,” Dr Brantly, who was working for the Christian relief group Samaritan’s Purse, said during a news conference that marked his first public appearance since walking into the hospital wearing a bio-hazard suit on August 2nd.

In a separate statement, Christian mission group SIM USA said Ms Writebol was released from the hospital on Tuesday and was resting in an undisclosed location with her husband.

“Nancy is free of the virus, but the lingering effects of the battle have left her in a significantly weakened condition,” her husband, David Writebol, said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to leave the hospital privately to be able to give her the rest and recuperation she needs at this time.”

Experimental

Dr Ribner, who cared for the patients, said they were released in consultation with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “To the extent that we’ve tested, there is no evidence of Ebola virus in their bodies,” Ribner said.

Asked whether the experimental drugs used on the patients helped improve their survival, he said, “The honest answer is we have no idea.” said what did know going into the treatment, however, was that the “key to surviving Ebola is aggressive supportive care,” which is something Emory medical workers knew they could deliver to the patients more effectively Africa.

The World Health Organisation said on Wednesday that 2,473 people had been infected and 1,350 had died since the Ebola outbreak was identified in remote southeastern Guinea in March.

The organisation said in a statement: “ZMapp is one of several experimental treatments and vaccines for Ebola that are currently undergoing investigation. At present, supplies of all are extremely limited.”– (Reuters)