Thursday, 21 August 2014


Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife, Amber- Dr Kent Brantly will be discharged from hospital, having recovered from the Ebola virus Photo: AP

At least one of the two American aid workers who were infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Africa has recovered and is set be discharged from an Atlanta hospital, the aid group he was working for said.

Alison Geist, a spokesman for Samaritan’s Purse, said Dr Kent Brantly, would be released on Thursday but could not say what time.

Emory University Hospital planned to hold a news conference on Thursday morning to discuss both patients’ discharge. Dr Brantly will speak but would not take questions, according to a news release. Emory spokesman Holly Korschun did not give further details on either patient, citing privacy concerns.

Franklin Graham, president of North Carolina-based Samaritan’s Purse, said in a statement the group was celebrating Dr Brantly’s recovery. He has been in the hospital’s isolation unit for nearly three weeks.

“Today I join all of our Samaritan’s Purse team around the world in giving thanks to God as we celebrate Dr Kent Brantly’s recovery from Ebola and release from the hospital,” Mr Graham’s statement said.

Dr 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.

Ms Writebol was working for North Carolina-based aid group SIM.

Dr Brantly and Ms Writebol received an experimental treatment called Zmapp, but it is 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 has not been tested on human beings.

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.

Leading bioethicists Professor Ezekiel Emanuel, of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Dr Annette Rid, of King’s College London, said experimental drugs should not be limited to wealthy or "well-connected" patients.

In the medical journal, The Lancet, the scientists called for "ethical principles" to be followed when experimental drugs were used such as randomised-controlled trials, in collaboration with local communities and other stakeholders.

The Ebola outbreak has killed 1,350 people and counting 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.

Meanwhile on Thursday South Africa issued a ban on all non-citizens travelling from three West African countries worst-affected by Ebola, Agence-France Presse reported.

A health ministry statement said: “A total travel ban for all non-citizens travelling from these high risk countries,” referring to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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 Organisation 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 infected across West Africa - more than the caseloads of all the previous two-dozen Ebola outbreaks combined.

Edited by Raziye Akkoc

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