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Ebola doctor hails Guinea medics


Health alerts at the main entrance of Bellevue Hospital, New York City. (AP)

Health alerts at the main entrance of Bellevue Hospital, New York City. (AP)

Health alerts at the main entrance of Bellevue Hospital, New York City. (AP)

A US doctor who has been declared free of Ebola said he was living proof that early detection and isolation can stop the spread of the deadly virus.

Dr Craig Spencer called for a better focus at the centre of the outbreak in West Africa as he was released from Bellevue Hospital in New York.

During a joyous news conference where medical staff were cheering and hugging, city mayor Bill de Blasio, his wife and most of the medical team embraced the doctor.

Dr Spencer thanked the team for his recovery and said he received excellent care. He was diagnosed on October 23, days after his return from Guinea, where he had been treating Ebola patients with Doctors Without Borders.

"While my case has garnered international attention, my infection represents but a fraction of the more than 13,000 reported cases to date in West Africa, the centre of the outbreak, where families are being torn apart and communities destroyed," he said.

During his time there, he said, he cried as he held children not strong enough to survive the virus and was overjoyed when patients he treated were cured.

He said his Guinean colleagues are the heroes no one is talking about. "Those who have been on the front lines since day one and saw friends and family members die continue to fight to save their communities with so much compassion and dignity," he said.

With Dr Spencer's recovery, there are no Ebola patients currently under treatment in the US. His fiancee is still under quarantine until November 14 and officials continue to monitor nearly 300 people, including hospital workers and recent travellers from West Africa.

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has killed thousands of people but only a handful of people have been treated in the United States.

Besides Dr Spencer, they include American health and aid workers and a journalist who fell ill in West Africa, a Liberian man diagnosed with the virus during a visit to Texas and two nurses who contracted it from him. The man, Thomas Eric Duncan, died; the rest have recovered.

A nurse who fought quarantine rules in New Jersey and Maine upon her return from Sierra Leone has now been freed from daily monitoring. Yesterday marked the 21st day since Kaci Hickox's last exposure to an Ebola patient.