According to Yahoo News, barely a week after being diagnosed with Ebola, Texas nurse Amber Vinson is free of the deadly virus, her family said Wednesday night (October 22).
“We are overjoyed to announce that, as of [Tuesday] evening, officials at Emory University Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are no longer able to detect virus in her body,” read a statement from a family spokesperson.
Debra Berry, the nurse's mother, is in Dallas under a self-imposed quarantine because she had recently spent time with Vinson. But Berry spoke with her daughter by phone Wednesday evening, according to the statement.
“Amber and our family are ecstatic to receive this latest report on her condition,” Berry said in the statement. “We all know that further treatment will be necessary as Amber continues to regain strength, but these latest developments have truly answered prayers and bring our family one step closer to reuniting with her at home.”
Jason McDonald, a CDC spokesperson, told Yahoo News late Wednesday that he was not aware of Vinson's recovery.
“Healthcare provider will determine by diagnostic whether a patient is free of Ebola virus,” McDonald said in an email. “We have criteria we ask medical staff to meet but the determination is made by medical care provider.”
Vinson, one of two Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurses to contract Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed late on October 14.
A day later, the 29-year-old was flown by air ambulance to Atlanta for treatment at Emory, which has a specialized unit trained in treating Ebola.
“Amber is steadily regaining her strength and her spirits are high,” read the family statement read. “She has also been approved for transfer from isolation. Amber remains under treatment within Emory's Serious Communicable Diseases Unit. We appreciate everyone for keeping Amber in your thoughts and prayers.”
COMMENT: Vinson's diagnosis prompted Ebola worries from Dallas to Cleveland last week when it was revealed that she had flown commercially in the days before being hospitalized. Her family fended off critics by pointing that health officials had approved her travel plans.
Vinson's colleague, Nina Pham, is being cared for at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD. Her condition was upgraded from fair to good on Tuesday.
According to Dallas officials, 108 people--most of them hospital staffers who were involved in caring for Duncan, Pham or Vinson--continue to be monitored for Ebola symptoms.
“The number of people at possible risk for contracting Ebola is decreasing each day,” said Dr. Lyle Peterson, a senior CDC official in Dallas. “Although we are not out of the woods yet, it is very encouraging we have not seen any other cases.”
About 50 people who had direct or indirect contact with Duncan, who died on October 8, were cleared from monitoring earlier this week, including his family.
The incubation period--the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms--is 2 to 21 days, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms.
Provided that no new cases are confirmed, monitoring in the Dallas area will end on November 7.
“Working together we are winning the war on Ebola, and every day we are closer to successfully accomplishing our mission,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Wednesday in a news release.