Two American aid workers, Nancy Writebol and Kent Brantly, who contracted the Ebola Virus Disease, while helping victims in Liberia, have been released from the Atlanta, USA hospital where they were treated with experimental drug, Zmapp.
“Today is a miraculous day. I am thrilled to be alive, to be well and to be reunited with my family,” Dr. Brantly, 33, of Christian aid organisation, Samaritan’s Purse, said at a news conference.
Ms. Writebol, 59, an aid worker was discharged on Tuesday, according to the hospital. She is spending private time with her husband.
“As she walked out of her isolation room, all she could say was ‘To God be the glory,'” Mr. Brantly said.
The doctor, who clutched the hand of his wife, Amber, before speaking, said he would be spending a month in private with his family before sharing any more of his story.
“Please do not stop praying for the people of Liberia and West Africa and for an end to this Ebola epidemic,” Mr. Brantly pleaded in a brief statement. He hugged his doctors and nurses as he left.
The officials at the hospital and the CDC emphasised that the patients pose no risk to public health.
“Emory’s staff is confident that the American patients’ discharges pose no public health threat,” said Dr. Bruce Ribner, director of Emory’s Infectious Disease Unit. He said the reason the public was not made aware of Ms. Writebol’s release immediately was that she requested her discharge not be publicly announced.
“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. “Thus, 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.”
Both patients were evacuated from Liberia in August, in a plane specially equipped with an isolation tent, and accompanied by medical staff outfitted in head-to-foot protective clothing. The plane was able to take only one patient at a time and made two trips. The patients were taken to an isolation unit at Emory, where they’d been treated for the last few weeks.
“We are tremendously pleased with Dr. Brantly and Mrs. Writebol’s recovery,” Mr. Ribner said at the news conference. “What we learned in caring for them will help advance the world’s understanding of how to treat Ebola infections and help, hopefully, to improve survival” in other parts of the world.
“There may be some recovery time because this is a fairly devastating disease, but in general, Ebola patients who survive without organ damage are expected to “make a complete recovery,” he said.