Ebola-infected American doctor releases statement from isolation: 'I am growing stronger every day'

Dr. Kent Brantly, the American doctor infected with Ebola released a statement Friday afternoon— his first since being brought back to the U.S.

Brantly was working for humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse in West Africa, treating Ebola patients at a Liberia hospital when he contracted the deadly virus. On Saturday, August 2, he was flown to Emory University Hospital, where he has been in isolation while receiving care.

He released the following statement through Samaritan’s Purse:
“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 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.”

Fellow American Nancy Writebol, who was working for U.S. mission group SIM, was also infected with Ebola. She returned to the U.S. Tuesday and is also at Emory receiving treatment.

In a press conference August 1st, Emory’s Dr. Bruce Ribner, said this would be the first time a patient with the Ebola virus would be treated in the U.S. and Emory is taking safety precautions seriously.

The patients were placed in the hospital’s containment unit, which is discrete from the rest of the hospital.

"From the time the air ambulance arrives in the metro Atlanta area, up to and including being hospitalized at Emory University Hospital, we have taken every precaution we know and that our colleagues at the CDC know to ensure no spread of this pathogen," Ribner said.

The patients are under the care of four infectious disease physicians, including Ribner. At any given time, there are two nurses available for each patient and subspecialists are available if more care is needed. Ribner noted that, at that time, they did not know how long the patients would be under their care, as degrees of illness complications affect patients' ability to stabilize and recover.

"Based on our experience, policies, procedures, I have no concern about either my personal health or the health of the other health care workers," Ribner said. “We are talking about a viral pathogen that does not have some exotic mode of transmission. [Ebola has] a mode of transmission we are well familiar with with other viruses. We have special policies and procedures from the transport side and health care side in the hospital to ensure there is a safe environment to take care of these patients. [I] don’t believe there’s any likelihood at all there would be any secondary [transmission] at all of these patients coming to us.”

Early symptoms of Ebola can include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In some cases, the disease causes rashes, red eyes, hiccups and internal and external bleeding, the CDC says.

For a patient who contracts Ebola and is able to recover, once their blood tests normalize and after they no longer show any symptoms, they no longer need to be in isolation.

“It’s a viral infection and viral infections generally, eventually clear,” Dr. Joseph Rahimian, infectious disease specialist and assistant professor of clinical medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center, told FoxNews.com. “So once they’ve made it through their symptoms and their symptoms resolve, within a short time after that, there’s little reason to think they’re going to have an ongoing risk of infection to other people.”