As Ebola panic spreads in New York City, here's some good news: The two Dallas nurses who contracted the virus earlier this month are now free of the deadly disease. This morning, health officials in Maryland announced that Nina Pham, the first nurse diagnosed, has tested negative for Ebola. The announcement comes less than two days after the family of Amber Vinson—who first tested positive for the virus last week—said she had been declared virus-free.
Pham will be released later today from the the National Institutes of Health facility in Bethesda, MD. The 26-year-old tested positive for the virus on October 12 after treating Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas and was transferred from Texas Health to the NIH last week. (Pham's dog has also tested negative for the virus).
Vinson's family announced that she was Ebola-free on Wednesday. "We are overjoyed to announce that, as of [Tuesday] evening, officials at Emory University Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control are no longer able to detect virus in her body," the family said in a statement, according to Yahoo News. Emory confirmed Vinson's family's claims this morning.
Emory: "Amber Vinson is making good progress in her treatment for Ebola virus infection. Tests no longer detect virus in her blood."
— Alan Blinder (@alanblinder) October 24, 2014
Vinson also contracted the virus after treating Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian, where she was initially treated before being transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
"I feel fortunate and blessed to be standing here today," she said. "Throughout this ordeal, I have put my faith in God and my medical team."
She said she believes in the power of prayer and thanked people around the world who have prayed for her.
Looking composed, the nurse thanked Dr. Kent Brantly, the American physician who also survived Ebola, for donating his plasma to her while she was sick.
She said she has been through a "very stressful and challenging" time and asked for privacy.