Health

America’s Ebola Epidemic Currently Consists Of One Person With Ebola

CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Dr. Anthony Fauci hugs Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who survived Ebola.

Nearly a week after health officials declared her Ebola free, Amber Vinson will be released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, officials said on Tuesday. The news means that there is just one known person in the U.S. who has an active case of Ebola.

Vinson, one of nearly 70 medical personnel who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, received her diagnosis days after the CDC announced her colleague Nina Pham had contracted the virus. The diagnosis caused further worry when it was revealed that Vinson had flown commercially days before being hospitalized.

Pham, who fell ill two days after Duncan succumbed, was released from the National Institutes of Health last week after two weeks of treatment. She visited the White House not long after, where she and President Barack Obama shared a hug.

For weeks, Vinson’s family members fought criticism, stressing that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved her travel plans. According to hospital officials, Vinson will make her first public statement during a national news conference at 1 p.m. E.T.

“Amber is steadily regaining her strength and her spirits are high,” her family said in a statement last week. “We appreciate everyone for keeping Amber in your thoughts and prayers.”

While the Ebola virus has infected more than 10,000 peoplenearly half of whom have died — in West Africa, it has been a different story in the United States and other regions with a stable infrastructure and an abundance of medical personnel and supplies. After six domestic cases, the survival rate here currently stands at 83 percent, compared to that of 30 to 40 percent at the virus’ epicenter.

Experts ascribe that high survival rate to the quality of care Ebola patients receive at the nation’s biocontainment facilities. Last week, American video journalist Ashoka Mukpo left a Nebraska hospital Ebola-free after receiving a blood transfusion from Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly. Mukpo, who contracted the virus while on a monthlong assignment in West Africa, told the Associated Press that the experience drove home the fact that many of the Ebola-inflicted don’t have a team of doctors at their disposal.

In spite of these successes, much of the nation’s attention is now focused on New York City, where the one remaining Ebola patient is fighting for his life. His diagnosis last week spurred the establishment of mandatory quarantine policies in states like New York and New Jersey, which are points of entry for foreign travelers.

Dr. Craig Spencer, who contracted Ebola while tending to patients in West Africa with Doctors Without Borders, has received a plasma transfusion from Nancy Writebol, an aid worker who survived the deadly disease. Many people — including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio — remain hopeful that he will pull through.

In Dallas, Ebola worries have all but subsided as the clock winds down to the end of the Ebola monitoring period for fewer than 100 people on November 7, provided there are no new confirmed cases.