Brantly and Writebol are likely to suffer from fatigue and weakness for a month to six weeks, depending on their age and their overall health, he said.
They also will likely feel some echoes of the overwhelming pain that Ebola infection causes, McCormick said.
Patients with Ebola experience terrible headaches plus body and muscle pain. "They have a tremendous sore throat, to the point where they cannot swallow their own saliva," he said.
At this point, there's not a lot that doctors can do for the two aid workers, besides monitoring their vital statistics, providing pain medications, and encouraging them to eat and drink, McCormick said.
Physicians also will closely track their progress in hopes it will further understanding of the course of an Ebola infection, said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, chair of the Infectious Diseases Society of America's Public Health Committee.
"We don't have the opportunity to study Ebola patients closely very often," said Duchin. "These two patients provide an opportunity to learn a little more about the course of Ebola, but that's complicated by the fact that they've received this experimental treatment with the ZMapp antibody cocktail." Because of that treatment, the degree to which you can draw conclusions about other patients with Ebola virus infection is likely to be limited, he said.
Public health officials have not yet said when quarantine will be lifted for the two, although it will likely be about 21 days after each person's last contact with a person infected with Ebola, based on the virus' maximum incubation period.
It is very likely that both have cleared the virus and are noninfectious at this point, Duchin and McCormick said.
"If you walked up to them today and shook their hand, you would not get infected," McCormick said.
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