Less than a month after being airlifted from Liberia, Dr. Kent Brantly will be released from the hospital where he’s been treated for Ebola. Joni Byker/Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse
The two U.S. patients who were treated for Ebola have been discharged from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where they had been in an isolation ward since returning from Liberia early this month. They are the first patients treated for Ebola on American soil.
Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol are being released after “a rigorous course of treatment and thorough testing,” Emory’s Dr. Bruce Ribner said. He added that he is confident that the discharge “poses no public health threat.”
The news emerged earlier today that Brantly would be released; in an announcement that has taken many people by surprise, officials said that Writebol had already been released, on Tuesday.
Update at 11:05 a.m. ET: Both Patients Released
Missionary Nancy Writebol was “declared virus-free and discharged from hospital Tuesday,” according to the SIM aid group. After blood tests came back clear, Writebol was reunited with her husband, David, and they “have gone to an undisclosed location to rest,” SIM says.
“After a rigorous course of treatment and testing, the Emory Healthcare team has determined that both patients have recovered from the Ebola virus and can return to their families and community without concern for spreading this infection to others,” Dr. Bruce Ribner, director of Emory’s Infectious Disease Unit, said in a statement provided by SIM.
We’ve rewritten part of this post to reflect the news.
Our original post:
Brantly, 33, and Writebol, 59, were flown back to the U.S. after contracting the deadly virus in Liberia. They have been treated in a special isolation unit at the hospital in Atlanta, which is also the home of the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For the pair to be released, the medical team treating them would need to have seen two clean blood tests in two days for each of them, according to CNN. In the past two weeks, their health had reportedly been improving.
Brantly, who lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and Writebol, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., had been working with Samaritan’s Purse, based in Boone, N.C., to treat patients with Ebola when they realized they had the virus late in July.
The Ebola outbreak has caused more than 1,350 deaths in West Africa, according to the World Health Organization. But the organization also warns that its tally might “vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.” Experts tell NPR that the WHO number could be higher by at least 20 percent.