First of two U.S. Ebola patients walks out of hospital

The first people to be treated for the Ebola virus in the U.S. are now infection-free.  One of the two patients was discharged from the hospital Thursday.

From Ebola patient to Ebola survivor.

“Today is a miraculous day,” said Dr. Kent Brantly. “I am thrilled to be alive, to be well, and to be reunited with family.”

Not just alive, but a victor over the deadly and highly infectious Ebola virus. Brantly was allowed to leave a hospital in Atlanta Thursday, now free of the virus that has killed 1,350 people in West Africa since March.

“As a medical missionary, I never imagined myself in this position,” said Brantly.

Brantly and Nancy Writebol were working in Liberia as Christian missionaries when they became infected with Ebola last month.

“I woke up feeling under the weather, and then my life took an unexpected turn as I was diagnosed with Ebola virus disease.”

Each was flown out of Liberia to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, one of only four facilities in the U.S. with highly specialized isolation units. The patients received the experimental serum, Zmapp, which is made by a company in San Diego.

In isolation and with intensive care around the clock, doctors say both patients are now healthy and show no signs of virus.

“they are not contagious,” said Dr. Bruce Ribner. “They don’t, as a general rule, relapse, and they don’t spread virus to anyone else.”

Nancy Writebol left the hospital on Tuesday, but asked for privacy as she continues her recovery.

“As she walked out of her isolation room,” Brantly said about Writebol, “all she could say was ‘to God be the glory.'”

Brantly and Writebol are the first people to receive the experimental drug Zmapp, and doctors say they’re not sure if the drug was effective.

“There is no prior experience with it,” said Ribner. “Frankly, we do not know whether it helped them, whether it made no difference, or even theoretically if it delayed their recovery.”

Brantly, who was the medical director at a clinic in Liberia, gave thanks to those who brought him back to health.

“I cannot thank you enough,” said Brantly, “for your prayers and support.”

Yet others stiff suffer, and Brantly says the fight against Ebola must continue.

“Please continue to pray for Liberia and the people of West Africa. And encourage those in positions of leadership and influence to do everything possible to bring this Ebola outbreak to an end.”

The experimental drug Zmapp was never used on human subjects before, and the scant supply is now exhausted.

Doctors say the two patients are free of the disease and pose no risk to the public.

Categories: KUSI