American Ebola patients cleared to leave hospital

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Two American Ebola patients who contracted the potentially deadly virus while working to cure patients in West Africa are out of the hospital tonight. But before heading home, one of them took time to thank everyone who made his recovery possible.

Almost three weeks ago , Dr. Kent Brantly arrived at Emory University Hospital as the first known Ebola patient to be treated on US soil. On Thursday, he stood and thanked the doctors who declared him clear of the virus. “Today is a miraculous day. I am thrilled to be alive, to be well and to be reunited with my family.”

Brantly became ill while working with the missionary group Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia. Missionary Nancy Writebol, brought to Emory with the virus days after Brantley, has also been released, but asked for privacy. The decision to bring the two Americans home for treatment had met questions, controversy, and concern about a potential spread of the disease into the US.

Despite this promising news, the outbreak continues to spread in West Africa. The world health organization said Wednesday that the death toll tops 1,350. Doctors at Emory now hope to share their knowledge. Brantley and Writebol were both treated with an experimental drug. Dr. Bruce Ribner of Emory University Hospital Infectious Diseases Unit says, “We are hopeful that what we learned here will assist our colleagues in Africa in in caring for these critically-ill patients.”

When untreated, Ebola is deadly in up to 90% of cases.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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