Ebola Patient Dr. Kent Brantly Says 'God Saved My Life'
Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were cured of ebola at Atlanta hospital.
— -- Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly have been cured of the Ebola virus and released from Emory Hospital in Atlanta.
Brantly, 33, called his recovery "a miraculous day."
"I am thrilled to be alive, to be well, and reunited with my family," he said.
He also told a news conference at Emory Hospital that "God saved my life."
Both patients were given blood and urine tests to determine whether they still had the virus, Emory doctors said in a statement released this morning.
"After a rigorous course of treatment and testing we have determined...that (Brantly) has recovered from the Ebola virus disease and he can return to his family, to his community, and to his life without any public health concerns," Dr. Bruce Ribner, director of Emory’s Infectious Disease Unit, said today.
Brantly said that when Writebol left the hospital on Tuesday, she asked him to speak on her behalf to the public and express gratitude for prayers on her behalf.
"When she walked out of the room, all she could say was ‘To God be the glory,’" Brantly recalled. "Nancy and (her husband) David are now spending some much needed time together."
Writebol's husband said in the statement that his wife left the hospital in a "significantly weakened condition."
"We are tremendously pleased with Dr. Brantly and Mrs. Writebol's recovery," Ribner said. "All of us who have worked with them have been impressed by their courage and determination. Their hope and faith have been an inspiration to all of us."
Ribner emphasized that though there is public fear and anxiety about Ebola, there is no threat to public health with the patients' release.
He also said that the decision to bring Brantly and Writebol to America for treatment would help push forward the research and knowledge about how to treat Ebola wherever it is contracted.
Brantly contracted the deadly virus while working in a Liberian Ebola ward with the aid agency Samaritan’s Purse. He was evacuated to the U.S. earlier this month along with Writebol.
"I never imagined myself in this position," Brantley said. "We treated out first Ebola patient (in Liberia) in June. When she arrived we were ready."
"On Wednesday, July 23, I woke up feeling under the weather and then my life took an unexpected turn as I was diagnosed with Ebola. As I lay in my bed in Liberia for nine days, getting sicker each day, I prayed God would help be more faithful in even in my illness, and that in my illness or even death he would glorified," Brantly said.
Brantly is the first-ever Ebola patient to be treated in the U.S. and the first human to receive the experimental serum known as ZMapp.
According to reports, Brantly’s condition deteriorated so quickly that doctors in Africa decided to give him the drug in a last-ditch effort to save him.
Brantly’s condition started to improve dramatically within an hour after getting the serum, according to Samaritan’s Purse, but it’s unclear if the improvement was directly related to the medication. After his health stabilized, Brantly was evacuated on a specially outfitted plane to Atlanta in early August to the hospital isolation ward.
Writebol, 59, also survived after getting the serum.
But Ribner said today that it is unclear what role ZMapp played in their recovery.
"Frankly we do not know if it helped them, made any difference, or even delayed their recovery," Ribner said.
He emphasized that both Writebol and Brantly were not a danger to others and there was no danger that the Ebola virus could flare up again in them.
"There is no evidence that once a patient has cleared the virus from their blood that they will relapse," Ribner said.
He also said that having survived Ebola, the patients were now immune to that particular strain of Ebola, although there are five strains of the virus.
The virus has killed at least 1,229 and sickened 1,011 more, according to numbers released Tuesday by the World Health Organization. Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have the most cases.
With reporting by ABC's Sydney Lupkin.
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