By Rich McKay
TWO AMERICAN aid workers discharged from an Atlanta hospital after being treated for Ebola pose no health risk to the public, an Emory University Hospital doctor said on Thursday.
Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who both contracted the deadly virus in Liberia while working for Christian organisations, have tested clear of Ebola and are likely to make a complete recovery, said Dr.Bruce Ribner, medical director of Emory’s Infectious Disease Unit.
“I am forever thankful to God for sparing my life,” Brantly said during a news conference that marked his first public appearance since walking into the hospital wearing a bio-hazard suit on Aug. 2.
In a separate statement, Christian mission group SIM USA said Writebol was released from the hospital on Tuesday and was resting in an undisclosed location with her husband.
“As she walked out of her isolation room, all she could say was, ‘To God be the glory’,'” Brantly, himself a physician who was working for the Christian relief group Samaritan’s Purse, told reporters in Atlanta.
Brantly and Writebol were given ZMapp, a drug used on a handful of patients in the West African outbreak and produced by US-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical.
“I have marvelled at Dr Brantly’s courageous spirit as he has fought this horrible virus with the help of the highly competent and caring staff at Emory University Hospital,” Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, said in a statement.
The World Health Organisation said on Wednesday that 2,473 people have been infected and 1,350 have died since the Ebola outbreak was identified in remote southeastern Guinea in March.
It said that no cases of the disease had been confirmed outside of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria despite cases having been suspected elsewhere.
A senior health official in Togo said on Thursday that two suspected cases, including a sailor from the Philippines, were being tested for the virus.
Three African doctors, also treated with ZMapp in Liberia, have shown remarkable signs of improvement, Liberian Information Minister Lewis Brown told Reuters on Tuesday.
Mapp says its supplies of the drug have been exhausted.
By Rich McKay