Kent Brantly, the American doctor who contracted Ebola in Liberia and was brought home to the U.S. to get treated at the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, was finally declared free of the debilitating and highly fatal virus.
Speaking before reporters after his release from the hospital on Thursday, Brantly no longer wore the bulky protective suit that characterized his infectious condition when he arrived sick and heavily guarded on Aug. 2. Instead, the doctor looked just like anyone else in his blue button-down shirt and slacks. The days of isolation also appear to be over for Brantly as he even hugged his wife who stood beside him when he made his speech, and each of the doctors and nurses who were behind the podium.
"Through the care of the Samaritan's Purse and SIM missionary team in Liberia, the use of an experimental drug, and the expertise and resources of the health care team at Emory University Hospital, God saved my life-a direct answer to thousands and thousands of prayers," Brantly said.
American aid worker Nancy Writebol, who has also contracted the hemorrhagic fever and was treated at the Emory University Hospital, was released from the hospital on Tuesday, two days before Brantly was discharged, after being declared free of the virus.
"Nancy is free of the virus, but the lingering effects of the battle have left her in a significantly weakened condition," Nancy's husband, David Writebol said. "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."
The recovery of the two American aid workers is good news amidst the grim situation of the Ebola outbreak that continues to ravage across West Africa. The quality of care and treatment that Brantly and Writebol received in the U.S. soil is different from those received by patients battling with the disease in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Guinea resulting in poorer chances of survival.
Ebola death toll in West Africa has now reached 1,350 as of Aug. 20 and 2,473 individuals have already contracted the disease. In Liberia, President Johnson Sirleaf ordered to quarantine thousands after angry residents of a slum in Monrovia raided an Ebola healthcare center stealing objects that were contaminated by blood, urine and saliva of the patients and resulting in Ebola-positive patients mingling with the crowd.