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File photo of Kent Brantly. Samaritan's Purse

US doctor who contracted Ebola in Liberia to be released from hospital

Kent Brantly is one of two American Ebola patients controversially treated with an experimental drug.

THE AMERICAN DOCTOR who contracted the Ebola virus while treating patients in Liberia and was controversially treated with an experimental drug is to be released from hospital today.

Dr Kent Brantly was one of two American aid workers working with the Samaritan’s Purse agency who contracted Ebola. They were separately evacuated back to the US for treatment.

A specialised isolation unit was set up at Emory University in Atlanta for their treatment in coordination with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Samaritan’s Purse issued a statement today saying it was celebrating Dr Brantly’s “recovery from Ebola and release from the hospital”.

“Over the past few weeks, I have marvelled 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,” said the agency’s president, Franklin Graham.

“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. 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.”

Emory University Hospital is due to give a press conference today on Brantly’s release and update on the condition of Nancy Writebol, the second Ebola patient at the hospital.

The death toll from the current Ebola outbreak has reached 1,350. It is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of people experiencing symptoms of the disease.

Treatment controversy

No known vaccine or drug treatment has been proven to fight Ebola. Treatment of the virus involves providing the patient with intravenous fluids and balancing electrolytes as well as providing oxygen, if needed, and treating other infections as they occur.

It reportedly has a case fatality rate of up to 90%, but the World Health Organization says that the survival rate of the current outbreak is around 47%.

Controversially, Brantly and Writebol were the first to be given doses of the experimental drug, Zmapp. The treatment has raised debates within the medical industry over the ethical use of untested drugs on patients and the selection of patients for experimental treatment.

Three doctors in Liberia were given the drug last week. It was also administered to a Spanish priest who contracted the disease, but he died in Spain last week, the BBC reports.

US doctor with Ebola releases statement from isolation ward and says he is getting better > 

WHO says you’re unlikely to get Ebola on a plane >

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