Ebola stricken US aid workers discharged from hospital

Ebola stricken US aid workers discharged from hospital

Friday, August 22, 2014 1:47 am

Amidst the gloom of  1,350 killed by Ebola virus, most of them in three West African states, cheering news of the conquest of the deadly disease has emerged in the United States. It’s about two American aid workers, a doctor and a nurse, who were themselves infected in Liberia and have now been certified, free of it, after being treated in the US.

Appearing thin but smiling, the  Texas doctor who weeks ago entered an Atlanta hospital in a full-body biohazard suit to be treated for Ebola said on Thursday he was “thrilled to be alive” as doctors declared him virus-free and safe for release.

Dr. Kent Brantly’s release came two days after a second U.S. missionary, Nancy Writebol, was quietly allowed to leave Emory University Hospital, where both had been treated after contracting the deadly virus in July while working for Christian organizations in Liberia.

They were each cleared for discharge from the hospital’s isolation unit after their symptoms eased and blood and urine tests showed no evidence of the virus, a doctor who treated them said on Thursday.

The announcement of their release and expected full recovery from a disease that has killed 1,350 people in West Africa prompted an emotional scene in Atlanta. Hospital workers cheered, clapped and cried as a thin but steady Brantly entered a news conference holding his wife Amber’s hand.

“Today is a miraculous day,” said Brantly, a 33-year-old medical missionary for the Christian relief group Samaritan’s Purse. “I am thrilled to be alive, to be well and to be reunited with my family.”

Brantly thanked the health teams at Emory and in Liberia for their care “during the most difficult experience of my life,” recalling how he grew sicker each day before being evacuated to the United States earlier this month.

 Dr Brantly, left and Nancy Writebol: free of Ebola

Dr Brantly, left and Nancy Writebol: free of Ebola

“I am forever thankful to God for sparing my life and am glad for any attention my sickness has attracted to the plight of West Africa in the midst of this epidemic,” he said.

Writebol did not attend. The 59-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, left the hospital on Tuesday and was resting in an undisclosed location with her husband, Christian mission group SIM USA said in a statement.

The couple was smiling and hugging in photos released by the organization on Thursday, but Nancy Writebol endured “dark hours of fear and loneliness” during the course of her fight, her husband said.

“Nancy is free of the virus, but the lingering effects of the battle have left her in a significantly weakened condition,” her husband, fellow missionary 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.”


Dr. Bruce Ribner, medical director of the infectious disease unit at Emory’s hospital, credited aggressive supportive care and the fact that both Brantly and Writebol were healthy and well-nourished with helping them recover.

The pair received an experimental therapy called ZMapp, a cocktail of antibodies made by tiny California biotech Mapp Biopharmaceutical. Health experts cautioned against declaring the drug a medical breakthrough based on two patients.

“The honest answer is we have no idea,” Ribner said, when asked if the experimental drugs helped the missionaries’ survival. He said early studies in primates suggest the drug has few long-term side effects.

The scale of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the largest in history with 2,473 people infected and at least 1,350 dead, has prompted a scramble for experimental drugs, most of which have only been tested in monkeys and cell cultures.



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