Atlanta, GA, United States (4E) – The missionaries infected with Ebola while treating patients in Liberia have been cured of the disease and released from an Atlanta hospital.
Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, from the humanitarian group Samaritan’s Purse, was discharged from the Emory University Hospital on Thursday. Missionary Nancy Writebol, 59, of Serving in Mission USA, was discharged Tuesday.
Extensive blood and urine tests on Brantly and Writebol turned out negative of the deadly virus that continues to kill people in West Africa so they were deemed cured and don’t pose a public health risk.
“After a rigorous course of treatment and testing, the Emory health care team has determined that both patients have recovered from the Ebola virus and can return to their families and community without concern for spreading this infection to others,” Ribner said, according to USA Today.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also approved their discharge, Ribner said.
Brantly spoke to reporters and a cheering crowd in a press conference Thursday. He thanked the five doctors and 21 nurses of Emory who attended to him and those praying for his recovery.
“God saved my life,” Brantly said, according to USA Today. “Please do not stop praying for the people of West Africa.”
Brantly will go to an undisclosed location with his family.
Writebol was too weak to talk to the press when she was released on Tuesday. She and her husband, who was cleared of the disease after a 21-day quarantine, are also spending their time together in an undisclosed location.
Brantly and his family arrived in Liberia in November. He started treating Ebola patients in June with extreme precaution. But on July 23, he fell ill. By that time, he had sent his family home to the U.S. Writebol also fell ill days later.
It was believed that they contracted the disease from another infected medical worker while they were not wearing protective suits. The medical worker later died.
Brantly received a blood transfusion from an Ebola survivor. When his condition deteriorated, the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp, which was yet to be tested on humans, was given to him. His condition improved slightly and he was flown to the U.S. in an ambulance plane designed for Ebola patients and admitted at the Emory hospital early this month.
Writebol was also administered the drug developed by a San Diego company while still in Liberia before being airlifted to the same hospital by the same plane days later.
Ribner said it is still unknown if ZMapp really cured Brantly and Writebol as a Spanish priest who was also administered a dose of the drug died on Aug. 12. Brantly and Writebol, however, are said to be immune from the Ebola strain that sickened them.
Meanwhile, the death toll from Ebola was at 1,229 with 1,011 more infected as of Tuesday, according to the World Health Organization. Most of the victims were from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
There is no known cure for Ebola, which is transmitted by contact with bodily fluids of infected people. Symptoms appear within 21 days and they include fever, body pains, vomiting and diarrhea. The infected suffer internal bleeding, which is usually fatal. There is 50 percent chance of survival.