Ebola Nurse Amber Vinson Now 'Free' of Virus, Family Says

News Picture: Ebola Nurse Amber Vinson Now 'Free' of Virus, Family SaysBy Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Amber Vinson, one of two nurses battling Ebola after contracting it from a patient at a Dallas hospital, is now free of the virus, according to a statement released by her family on Wednesday.

"We are overjoyed to announce that, as of yesterday [Tuesday] evening, officials at Emory University Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control are no longer able to detect virus in her body," Vinson's family said in the statement, ABC News reported.

The statement added that Vinson should be able to leave the isolation unit.

The other nurse, Nina Pham, is being treated at the U.S. National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.; her condition was upgraded from fair to good on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Dallas city health officials said that Bentley, Pham's spaniel, tested negative for Ebola, NBC News reported.

Both Vinson and Pham became infected with the Ebola virus while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Duncan, a Liberian national, was the first Ebola patient to be diagnosed on American soil. He died of the illness on Oct. 8

In other good news, the freelance cameraman who was diagnosed with Ebola while working for NBC News in Liberia has cleared the virus from his system and can leave the special isolation unit at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where he had been treated for the past two weeks, the hospital said Tuesday.

A blood test confirmed by the CDC found that Ashoka Mukpo, 33, can head home to Providence, R.I., NBC News reported Tuesday night.

"Recovering from Ebola is a truly humbling feeling," the hospital quoted Mukpo as saying. "Too many are not as fortunate and lucky as I've been. I'm very happy to be alive."

And in a statement released Wednesday morning, Mukpo expressed gratitude to an American medical missionary who battled and beat Ebola: "Thank you to Dr. Kent Brantly, whose generous blood donation played a pivotal role in my recovery. May his health flourish and his compassion be known to all," Mukpo's statement read.

Mukpo is one of eight Americans who have been diagnosed with the often deadly virus that has been plaguing three West African nations -- Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -- since the spring.

The latest good news followed reports that an unidentified patient being treated at Emory is now "free of Ebola virus disease" and was discharged Sunday from the facility, the medical center said in a statement released Monday afternoon.

The man, who has requested anonymity since being admitted to Emory's Serious Communicable Disease Unit on Sept. 9, now poses no threat to public health and has left the hospital for an "undisclosed location," the hospital added.

Emory had previously successfully treated two medical missionaries who became infected in West Africa, the site of the worst Ebola outbreak in history.

Meanwhile, U.S. health officials this week tightened guidelines for health care workers treating Ebola patients.

The new recommendations call for full-body suits and hoods with no skin exposure and use of a respirator at all times. There will also be stricter rules for removing equipment and disinfecting hands, and the designation of a "site manager" to supervise the putting on and taking off of equipment used while treating a patient.

The revised guidelines are apparently in response to the two nurses in Dallas who became infected with Ebola while treating Duncan.

Health officials aren't sure how the nurses became infected with Ebola.

But, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that the nurses caring for Duncan had some of their skin exposed.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed nearly 4,900 people out of nearly 10,000 reported cases, according to the World Health Organization.

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SOURCES: Oct. 20, 2014, statement, Emory Health Sciences; Oct. 18, 2014, White House weekly address; NBC News;

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