Nina Pham, the 26-year-old nurse who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first virus patient to die in the US, contracted the disease herself. After spending weeks in isolation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has declared her as being Ebola free.
Pham worked as a caregiver for Duncan in Liberia and after returning to the United States, she tested positive for the deadly virus on October 11, just two days after Duncan passed away from the same infection after entering the United States.
In addition to Pham, a second nurse tested positive. Amber Vinson, age 29, was confirmed to have the Ebola virus on October 15 after which time she was flown to Emory University Hospital in Dallas, Texas. One day later, Pham was flown to the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland where she was admitted into the Special Clinical Studies Unit.
According to family members of Vinson, although she remains hospitalized, doctors no longer detect signs of the Ebola virus in her body. Vinson’s mother told reporters that her daughter has now been given permission to move out of isolation and while Emory Hospital was contacted for confirmation, no information regarding her condition was released.
In a press conference held today, Pham’s doctors alongside NIH spokesman, John Burklow, confirmed that she is in fact free of the Ebola virus and that within a few days, she will be released from the hospital.
In addition to Pham, her one-year-old King Charles spaniel, Bentley, also underwent testing for the Ebola virus at a decommissioned naval air base by the City of Dallas Animal Services, following her diagnosis. The dog’s incubation period will officially end on November 1 but to date, presence of the Ebola virus has not been found.
The newest Ebola virus patient in the United States is Dr. Craig Spencer of New York. Just yesterday, he was admitted into a hospital after reporting symptoms. Dr. Spencer had been working in Liberia, caring for patients of the virus with the group “Doctors without Borders”. His is now the fourth confirmed case of Ebola in the US to date.