Nina Pham, the first nurse diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, has been declared “virus free” said officials at the National Institutes of Health Friday morning, a day after a doctor, Craig Spencer, in New York was diagnosed with the virus.
Pham, 26, contracted the disease last month after treating a Liberian man who flew to Dallas, unaware that he had the Ebola virus. The patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, died days before it was announced that Pham had contracted the disease. She has since been treated in Bethesda, Md. at the National Institutes of Health facility in a special unit for patients who need advanced isolation and extended stays. Pham is expected to be discharged soon.
According to the Washington Post, a news conference on the incident began at 11:30 AM. NIH director Francis S. Collins and Anthony S. Faudi, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, are among those set to attend the news briefing.
This news comes a day after officials announced that a doctor in New York who recently returned from treating patients in West Africa has been diagnosed with Ebola. This makes him the fourth person to be diagnosed in the US.
Spencer, 33, developed a fever, nausea, pain and fatigue on Thursday, a week after he returned from his trip to Guinea with Doctors Without Borders. Spencer has since been placed in isolation at New York’s Bellevue Hospital Center and is in stable condition.
While Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN reporters late Thursday that “there is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed,” officials are taking precautions with his case. They shut down a bowling alley that Spencer had visited before he felt symptoms and they have quarantined Spencer’s fiancée, two friends, and a car service driver.
Doctors at the press conference have announced that Pham is being released, completely Ebola-free, and “gets to resume a normal happy and healthy life.”
Nina Pham spoke at the conference, asking for her privacy as she moves forward from this disease. “Although I no longer have Ebola, it may be awhile before I have my strength back,” Pham states.
Dr. Anthony Fauci at the press conference discussed how they treated Pham at their facility. “One of the most important things is to give a kind of general medical support to allow the body to fight off the virus,” Fauci states. “We did not administer experimental drugs to Nina [Pham] while she was here.”
In response to questions about whether there will be more regulation on people returning from Ebola zones, due to Spencer contracting the disease in New York after his trip to Guinea, Dr. Fauci states that this is an “active discussion right now.”