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An American infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone has fully recovered and left a special treatment unit at the National Institutes of Health, the NIH said Thursday.
A batch of 16 colleagues who were evacuated soon after never were infected and have all been let out of quarantine also, the group they all work for, Partners in Health, said.
“The American healthcare worker admitted to the NIH Clinical Center on March 13 with Ebola virus disease was discharged today in good condition after having been successfully treated at the NIH Clinical Center Special Clinical Studies Unit,” NIH said in a statement.
“The individual is no longer contagious to the community. At the request of the patient, no further information is being provided.”
“The individual is no longer contagious to the community."
Although NIH released little information, news releases indicate the patient was in critical condition for at least a week before slowly recovering over nearly a month of treatment.
“We’re heartened by the news that our colleague is heading home, free of Ebola, and making his way toward a full recovery,” said Sheila Davis, chief of Ebola response for Partners in Health. “His commitment to strengthening the quality of health care in some of the world’s poorest communities is something we should all be proud of.”
Partners in Health has been providing medical care in Sierra Leone, one of the countries worst hit by the West African Ebola epidemic. More than 25,000 people have been infected and more than 10,000 people have died, according to the World Health Organization. More than 800 health care workers have been infected and nearly 500 of them have died.
The patient was the 11th person to be treated in the United States for Ebola. Two have died — Dr. Martin Salia, a Sierra Leonean doctor, and Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian visiting family in Texas. The rest, including several medical missionaries and other volunteers, as well as two nurses who treated Duncan, have recovered.
"We must redouble our efforts not only in the immediate crisis, but also for the long-term."
“After two consecutive tests that were negative for Ebola virus, the NIH clinical team determined our colleague is virus free, no longer contagious, and able to return home,” Partners in Health said.
“The additional PIH clinicians transported to the United States for monitoring were cleared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health authorities last week and released. None were infected with Ebola virus disease.”
Already, two clinicians who had returned for monitoring are heading back to Sierra Leone, the group said.
“Our colleague’s selflessness reminds us that the fight in West Africa is not over,” said Davis. “We must redouble our efforts not only in the immediate crisis, but also for the long-term, working alongside the ministries of health to strengthen their national health systems.”