Dr. Kent Brantly, the Samaritan's Purse doctor who contracted Ebola while caring for patients in Liberia, will be released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta today after completing his recovery from the deadly virus.
"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," Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham said in a statement. "Over the past few weeks I have marveled at Dr. Brantly's courageous spirit as he has fought this horrible virus with the help of the highly competent and caring staff at Emory University Hospital. His faithfulness to God and compassion for the people of Africa have been an example to us all."
Dr. Brantly survived the virus that typically causes massive internal bleeding and has a mortality rate of 60 to 90 percent in most situations. The current outbreak of Ebola has claimed more than 1,350 lives in the west African countries of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
"I know that Dr. Brantly and his wonderful family would ask that you please remember and pray for those in Africa battling, treating and suffering from Ebola," Graham said. "Those who have given up the comforts of home to serve the suffering and the less fortunate are in many ways just beginning this battle."
Dr. Brantly was serving with Samaritan's Purse when he contracted Ebola while treating patients in Liberia. Earlier this month, he was transported to Atlanta in a medical evacuation plane equipped with a special containment unit. He was taken to Emory University Hospital, where he was treated at a special unit set up in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to care for patients exposed to certain serious infectious diseases.
Nancy Writebol, the missionary who also contracted Ebola in Liberia, continues to recover in the isolation unit. She was serving with SIM, an organization that worked closely with Samaritan's Purse to help combat the outbreak.
Both Dr. Brantly and Writebol received a dose of an experimental serum while still in Liberia. Dr. Brantly also received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy who had survived Ebola under his care.
Dr. Brantly, a family practice physician, was serving in Liberia through the Samaritan's Purse post-residency program before joining the medical team responding to the Ebola crisis. His wife and two children had been living with him in Liberia but flew home to the U.S. before he started showing any signs of illness.
As the Ebola outbreak spiraled out of control, Samaritan's Purse evacuated all but the most essential personnel from Liberia to their home countries. None of the evacuating staff were ill, and the World Health Organization and CDC continue to reiterate that people are not contagious unless they begin showing symptoms.
National staff who remained in Liberia continue to carry out an Ebola prevention and awareness campaign.
"We have more than 350 staff in Liberia, and others will soon be joining them, so please pray for those who have served with Dr. Brantly—along with the other doctors, aid workers and organizations that are at this very moment desperately trying to stop Ebola from taking any more lives," Graham said.
Writebol works with SIM, a missions organization that worked closely with Samaritan's Purse to combat Ebola since the current outbreak began in Liberia in March. She had been working as a hygienist who decontaminated those entering and leaving the isolation ward of the Case Management Center at the hospital.