— -- A third Ebola patient treated in America after being placed in isolation at a bio-containment unit at the Nebraska Medical Center since early September was released from the hospital today.
Dr. Richard Sacra, 51, underwent treatment after contracting the deadly virus while treating patients in Liberia.
An upbeat, but gaunt Sacra, a family physician from Massachusetts, was joined by his wife and doctors as he addressed reporters for the first time.
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"The CDC has declared me safe and free of virus, thank God, I love you all!” said Sacra.
He also thanked his family and the medical teams who treated him in both Liberia and at the Nebraska Medical Center.
“I am so grateful. You all have made me feel so welcome here. I’m an official lifetime Husker fan,” Sacra said, citing the University of Nebraska’s mascot.
The 51-year-old physician also recognized Dr. Kent Brantly, the first Ebola patient treated in the U.S., who traveled to Nebraska to donate plasma in the hopes that antibodies in his blood could help Sacra fight off the Ebola infection.
In addition to Brantly’s plasma, Sacra was also given other experimental drugs to help him recover from the Ebola infection. It’s unclear which if any of the drugs helped him recover.
Sacra also recounted the first few days of infection before being transferred to Nebraska, but said he never became deathly ill.
“The care was so excellent, so speedy, so prompt,” he said. “I never got to a stage where I said, ‘Oh my gosh. I’m not going to make it.’”
Since Sacra was not treating Ebola patients when he was infected, he was not sure which patient had infected him. He said he believes he contracted the virus while performing a caesarian section operation.
Sacra also asked the American public to continue to support aid agencies in African and to continue an "outpouring of prayer, for the people of West Africa."
Sacra is the third of four American health workers, who have been brought to the U.S. after being infected with Ebola, since the outbreak started in March. According to the World Health Organization, 5,357 Ebola cases have been reported since the outbreak began in West Africa six months ago, including 2,630 deaths.