The second of two Dallas nurses infected with Ebola after treating the first U.S. diagnosed patient will be discharged from the today as virus-free, an Atlanta hospital spokeswoman said.
Amber Vinson, 29, will be leaving Emory University Hospital following a 1 p.m. news conference to make a statement after tests showed she no longer has the Ebola virus, Emory spokeswoman Holly Korschun told The Associated Press. Vinson was transported to Emory recently from Texas Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where she was one of the dozens of health workers who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who died from Ebola earlier this month.
An ambulance carrying Amber Joy Vinson, the second health care worker to be diagnosed with Ebola in Texas, arrives at Emory University Hospital on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, in Atlanta. Vinson was one of the nurses who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died at the Dallas hospital last week of the Ebola virus. She will be discharged Tuesday as Ebola free. (AP/David Tulis)
"I’m so grateful to be well, and first and foremost I want to thank God," Vinson said at a press conference.
Vinson's family announced Oct. 22 that doctors could no longer detect the deadly virus in her body, a step toward recovery her mother described as an answered prayer.
Vinson's discharge comes less than a week after her colleague, Nina Pham, was released from a hospital attached to the National Institutes of Health near Washington.
"While this is a day for celebration and gratitude, I ask that we not lose focus on the families who continue to be burdened by this disease in West Africa," Vinson said.
Watch this report from WSB-TV:
It remains unclear exactly how the nurses became infected. Vinson attended to Duncan on Sept. 30, the day he tested positive for Ebola, according to medical records that Duncan's family released to The Associated Press. Like Pham, the reports note that Vinson wore protective gear and a face shield, hazardous materials suit, and protective footwear. At the time, Duncan's body fluids were highly infectious if someone made contact with them. At one point, Vinson inserted a catheter into Duncan.
In other Ebola news:
- Nurse continues quarantine ... in a different state: Nurse Kaci Hickox, who was against her forced quarantine after flying into New Jersey and does not have symptoms of Ebola, was transported to Maine, where another quarantine was imposed on her because she recently cared for patients with the virus in West Africa. Maine officials said Hickox agreed to be quarantined at home for 21 days after the last possible exposure to the disease. But her lawyer believes the state should follow federal guidelines that require only monitoring, not quarantine, for health care workers who show no symptoms after treating Ebola patients.
- Could the Feds overrule state quarantine orders? The White House says the Constitution prevents President Barack Obama from forcing all states to follow a single, national rule for isolating potential Ebola patients. But the hodgepodge of state policies is sowing confusion about what's really needed to stop Ebola from spreading in the United States. The Constitution empowers the federal government to isolate sick people entering the U.S. or traveling between states. But the states have the bulk of the authority to regulate public health, including the decision to enforce quarantines within their borders.
- 5,000 more needed: The president of the World Bank said more than 5,000 health workers are needed to fight Ebola in West Africa. Jim Yong Kim said he is worried about where those health care workers can be found given the Ebola fear factor. "We need to have a steady stream of health care workers from Africa coming into the three affected countries. The head of the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, David Nabarro, has told us that we need at least 5,000 health workers from outside the region," Jim said.
Ebola has hit the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea the hardest. The outbreak has killed nearly 5,000 people.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story has been updated to include more information.