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Full Recovery Possible for 2 U.S. Ebola Patients
Date:8/18/2014

By
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The two American aid workers being treated for Ebola virus face a long, hard road to full recovery, but shouldn't endure long-term illness or disability because of their brush with the deadly pathogen, says one of the United States' most experienced Ebola experts.

Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol likely will spend weeks, if not months, regaining their strength and body weight following the ravages of Ebola, said Dr. Joseph McCormick, regional dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health in Brownsville.

But they most likely haven't endured any permanent organ damage or contracted a lasting chronic illness from the virus, McCormick said, and ought to emerge from their struggle with immune resistance against future Ebola infection.

He said most survivors "get pretty much back to normal" over time, but admitted "this is something we know less about than we should."

McCormick is one of the very few U.S. physicians with first-hand experience with Ebola. As an officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he belonged to the team that investigated the first Ebola epidemic in 1976, which occurred in the Congo, as well as the next two African outbreaks of Ebola.

The families of Brantly, 33, and Writebol, 59, have reported that the two show signs of improvement every day, even though they remain under quarantine at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Both contracted the hemorrhagic illness in Liberia.

Ebola victims who survive -- the virus kills 60 to 90 percent of those it infects -- first must deal with the loss of body mass caused by their illness, McCormick said.

"Over a period of two to three weeks, in addition to becoming physically very weak, they lo
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