Nina Pham has been cured of Ebola and released from the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. She was the first nurse diagnosed with the disease in the United States. The 26-year-old nurse contracted the disease after treating a patient in Dallas who was diagnosed with an active infection.
Pham was sent to the NIH facility in Maryland, which is one of the few in the nation equipped to keep patients in an isolated environment, where the virus cannot spread to others.
"The NIH has received countless inquiries and expressions of support for Ms. Nina Pham, the Texas nurse who was admitted to the NIH Clinical Center Special Clinical Studies Unit on Thursday, October 16, with Ebola virus disease. The NIH Clinical Center staff has shared the general sentiments with her and Ms. Pham has expressed her gratitude for everyone's concerns and well wishes," NIH officials reported on October 21.
Nina Pham is no longer carrying the disease, according to physicians who treated the woman.
After her release, the nurse read from a prepared statement, but did not take questions from the crowd gathered to hear her speak.
"Throughout this ordeal, I have put my trust in God and my medical [team]... I am on my way back to recovery, even as I reflect on how many others have not been so fortunate. I am so incredibly thankful for everyone involved in my care from the moment I became ill," Pham told the group.
Soon after her release, the nurse met with President Obama. A spokesperson for the White House reported the President wanted to meet with Pham to thank her for her service.
West Africa has seen the greatest impact from the disease so far. Around 9,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease worldwide. Around half of those patients have died from the illness. Public outcry in the United States over the spread of the disease was followed by the appointment of an Ebola czar, Ron Klain.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] is assisting with exit screening and communication efforts in West Africa to prevent sick travelers from getting on planes, and is working with airlines to address crew and airline staff concerns while ensuring the ability of humanitarian and public health organizations to transport assistance into the affected countries," the White House reported on their Web site.
Pham was cleared by doctors five fives before being allowed to leave the hospital, but did not undergo any additional screenings before meeting with the President.