Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Thrilled to be alive, says aid worker who beat the virus

Dr Kent Brantly after he was declared free of the Ebola virus

A US aid worker said it was "a miraculous day" as he was discharged from hospital after being treated for the deadly Ebola virus.

Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol have both been released from hospital in Atlanta nearly three weeks after being infected with the virus in Africa.

Dr Brantly left Emory University Hospital yesterday and Dr Writebol left on Tuesday. Family and officials say they're free of the virus.

Dr Brantly (33) said: "I am thrilled to be alive, to be well, and to be reunited with my family. As a medical missionary I never imagined myself in this position."

Dr Brantly and his wife stood holding hands before he read from a written statement. He choked up several times while thanking his aid group, North Carolina-based Samaritan's Purse, and the Emory medical team standing behind them.

After speaking, the couple hugged the medical staff and joked with them. Several blinked back tears, then cheered and applauded as Dr Brantly and his wife made their way from the room.

Dr Writebol's husband says she left privately in a weakened condition to recuperate at an undisclosed location.

Dr Brantly was flown out of Liberia on August 2, and Dr Writebol followed on August 5. The two were infected while working at a missionary clinic outside Liberia's capital.

They received an experimental treatment called Zmapp, but it's not known whether the drug helped or whether they improved on their own, as has happened to others who have survived the disease. The treatment is so novel that it hasn't been tested in people.

The limited supply of Zmapp also was tried in a Spanish missionary priest, who died, and three Liberian health care workers, who are said to be improving.

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