Two American aid workers who contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia have been discharged from an Atlanta hospital ‘virus-free’, officials said Thursday, as the WHO announced talks on potential treatments set for next month.
An official at Emory University Hospital stressed that their release poses no public health risk, and Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, called it a “miraculous day.”
“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,” Brantly said. He spoke at a news conference after his release Thursday.
S. Africa bans entry of nationals from Ebola-hit countries
South Africa said on Thursday that due to fears over the spread of the Ebola virus it was banning travellers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from entering the country, apart from its own citizens.
Nancy Writebol, 59, was released Tuesday, and her husband said in statement emailed by aid group SIM that that she is free of the virus but in a weakened condition and was recuperating at an undisclosed location.
Brantly, 33, was flown out of the West African nation of Liberia on Aug. 2, and Nancy Writebol, 59, followed Aug. 5. The two were infected while working at a missionary clinic outside Liberia’s capital.
Looking for a cure
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday it would convene talks early next month on potential treatments and vaccines to contain the Ebola outbreak.
Brantly and Writebol had received an US-made trial drug called Zmapp, but it’s not known whether the drug helped or whether they improved on their own. 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.
"ZMapp is one of several experimental treatments and vaccines for Ebola that are currently undergoing investigation. At present, supplies of all are extremely limited," the WHO said in a statement.
Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly: "Today is a miraculous day."
Reuters reported that supplies of Zmapp are now exhausted. The talks on Sept. 4-5 in Geneva will discuss safety and efficacy of experimental therapies and how to expedite clinical trials and ramp up production, it said.
The Ebola outbreak has killed more than 1,300 people across West Africa.
There is no proven treatment or vaccine. Patients are given basic supportive care to keep them hydrated, maintain their blood pressure and treat any complicating infections. Ebola is spread only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of sick people experiencing symptoms.
On Thursday in the Liberian capital of Monrovia, calm set in one day after residents in a slum that was sealed off in an effort to contain the outbreak clashed with riot police and soldiers.
World Health Organization officials were visiting two hospitals that are treating Ebola patients and struggling to keep up with the influx of patients.
The death toll is rising most quickly in Liberia, which now accounts for at least 576 of the fatalities, the WHO said.
At least 2,473 people have been sickened across West Africa- more than the caseloads of all the previous two-dozen Ebola outbreaks combined.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-08-21