A second Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola is being released Tuesday from an Atlanta hospital and is free of the virus, according to Emory University Hospital’s Dr. Bruce Ribner.
The nurse, Amber Vinson, was diagnosed with Ebola about two weeks ago.
Dressed in a gray suit, Vinson stood at a podium and briefly spoke at a news conference. She said she was “grateful to be well” and thanked God for giving her the hope and strength to fight the disease.
She also thanked former Ebola patients Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol for their donations of plasma to her and other patients.
Her grandparents were at the news conference with her, and she thanked them and the rest of her family before hugging the medical staff who participated in her care, one by one.
Ribner said that Vinson “has recovered from her infection with Ebola virus, and she can return to … her community and to her life” without any concerns of transmitting the virus.
Vinson is one of two Dallas nurses who was diagnosed with Ebola after treating Liberian citizen Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed in the United States with the virus. Duncan, who had symptoms after flying from Liberia to Texas in September, was admitted to Dallas’ Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital but died on October 8.
The other nurse, Nina Pham, was treated at a National Institutes of Health facility in Maryland before being declared Ebola-free on Friday. She was discharged from the hospital that day and met President Barack Obama at the White House before returning home.
Vinson was initially hospitalized in Dallas and was transferred to Emory University Hospital on October 15.
Ribner said that the Emory hospital staff has learned “a great deal” about treating Ebola after having successfully treated four patients with the virus, including Vinson. They’ve learned lessons about fluid and electrolyte management and that physicians can aggressively treat Ebola patients even when they become dependent on dialysis, he said. Emory is sharing those lessons with colleagues in West Africa and across the United States, Ribner said.
A heavy toll
Ebola has killed more than 4,900 people, mostly in the West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and infected thousands more in what health officials call the worst outbreak of the disease in history. The World Health Organization has said that the mortality rate in the current outbreak, starting with the first death in December, is about 70%.
Vinson’s release leaves only one confirmed Ebola patient — Dr. Craig Spencer, 33 — in a U.S. hospital. Spencer, who was diagnosed with Ebola last week in New York after being in contact with Ebola patients in Guinea, was in serious but stable condition in a New York hospital Tuesday, according to New York health officials.
U.S. facilities have treated nine Ebola patients in recent months, and only one — Duncan — has died. All but Vinson and Pham contracted the disease in West Africa.
Many of the nine patients were given experimental treatments and transfusions of plasma from Ebola survivors, though doctors have cautioned that they’re not sure whether the measures helped.
Meanwhile, a patient who was tested for Ebola was negative for the virus, a spokeswoman for the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore said Tuesday morning. The center had said a day earlier that it was treating a potential Ebola patient.
Child doesn’t have Ebola, but still hospitalized
A 5-year-old boy who recently visited West Africa and had a fever tested negative for the virus in New York, health officials said. A respiratory infection caused the child’s temperature to spike, which initially caused concern that he might have had the Ebola virus, New York City’s Bellevue Hospital Center reported Tuesday.
The boy is being taken out of isolation, CNN has learned, but he’ll remain hospitalized.