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IU Medical School Grad With Ebola Growing Stronger

An Indiana University Medical School graduate who is being treated for Ebola released a statement about his recovery Friday.

Dr. Kent Brantly

Photo: Courtesy of Samaritan's Purse

Dr. Kent Brantly, of Fort Worth, Texas, was treating Ebola patients in Monrovia, Liberia, when he himself became infected with the virus.

An American doctor who contracted the Ebola virus while working in Africa released a statement Friday.

Dr. Kent Brantly graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine in 2009 and is being treated for Ebola in an isolation room at Atlanta’s Emory Hospital.

Relief organization Samaritan’s Purse released the following statement on behalf of Brantly:

“I am writing this update from my isolation room at Emory University Hospital, where the doctors and nurses are providing the very best care possible. I am growing stronger every day, and I thank God for His mercy as I have wrestled with this terrible disease. I also want to extend my deep and sincere thanks to all of you who have been praying for my recovery as well as for Nancy (Writebol) and for the people of Liberia and West Africa.

My wife Amber and I, along with our two children, did not move to Liberia for the specific purpose of fighting Ebola. We went to Liberia because we believe God called us to serve Him at ELWA Hospital.

One thing I have learned is that following God often leads us to unexpected places. When Ebola spread into Liberia, my usual hospital work turned more and more toward treating the increasing number of Ebola patients. I held the hands of countless individuals as this terrible disease took their lives away from them. I witnessed the horror firsthand, and I can still remember every face and name.

When I started feeling ill on that Wednesday morning, I immediately isolated myself until the test confirmed my diagnosis three days later. When the result was positive, I remember a deep sense of peace that was beyond all understanding. God was reminding me of what He had taught me years ago, that He will give me everything I need to be faithful to Him.

Now it is two weeks later, and I am in a totally different setting. My focus, however, remains the same—to follow God. As you continue to pray for Nancy and me, yes, please pray for our recovery. More importantly, pray that we would be faithful to God’s call on our lives in these new circumstances.”

Brantly is one of two Americans being treated for the virus. Nancy Writebol also contracted Ebola while working as a missionary in Liberia.

But, an Indiana doctor says the chance of the Ebola outbreak spreading to North America is miniscule.

Dr. Shannon McMorrow is Interim Director of the Master of Public Health Program at the University of Indianapolis. McMorrow says the virus isn’t easily contracted, nor is it airborne.

She says it’s contracted through close personal contact and is spread via blood and bodily fluids, usually through skin openings.

McMorrow says despite social media chatter and comments from some public officials, it’s just not at all likely that Ebola could “leap over to this continent.”

McMorrow says with the current outbreak, the mortality rate is about 50 percent. She says there’s no specific treatment, but doctors typically aid patients by keeping them hydrated, reducing pain and trying to keep fever in check along with isolating them.

Network Indiana contributed to this report.

Barbara Harrington

Barbara Harrington is a reporter for WTIU and WFIU news. Before coming to Bloomington, she worked as a reporter at WNDU in South Bend, where she received several AP awards for her coverage of breaking news and local politics. You can follow her on Twitter @BabsofBtown.

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