VIA: Two American missionaries who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Liberia have left hospital after making a full recovery, doctors said yesterday, as authorities in the west African nation struggled to deal with their dead.
Doctors Kent Brantly, 33, and Nancy Writebol, 60, caught the disease in Monrovia in the midst of an outbreak that has killed 1,350 people since March in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
The pair were given experimental drugs before being airlifted back to the United States, where they have been treated at a hospital in Atlanta for the last three weeks. “The discharge from the hospital of both these patients poses no public health threat,” said Bruce Ribner, director of Emory Hospital’s Infectious Disease Unit.
The news of their recovery came as west African countries intensified their efforts to contain the worst-ever outbreak of the disease ahead of the arrival of the UN’s top Ebola official in the region. Liberia, which has seen the biggest toll in this epidemic with 576 deaths, has witnessed chaotic scenes in recent days following a surge in the number of patients succumbing to the hemorrhagic fever.
South Africa yesterday issued a ban on non-citizens travelling from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which it labelled “high risk countries.”
The Red Cross said yesterday that the crematorium in the capital Monrovia is struggling to deal with the dozens of bodies being brought in each day.
Crematorium workers were having to return corpses to a hospital in the city because they “did not have the capacity to cremate all the bodies,” Fayah Tamba, the head of the charity’s Liberian office, told a local radio station.
Her comments came after a similarly tumultuous day in the capital on Wednesday, with violence erupting in an Ebola quarantine zone after soldiers opened fire and used tear gas on protesting crowds.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had ordered a nightime curfew and the quarantine of Monrovia’s West Point slum and Dolo Town, to the east of the capital, in a bid to stem the outbreak, prompting fury from trapped residents.