The nation's first contracted case of Ebola on U.S. soil has now been declared free of the virus, thanks to special care and treatment at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.
Nina Pham, the nurse who first contracted Ebola from Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan earlier this month, was isolated in the Bethesda, Maryland hospital on October 16th after testing positive for the virus on October 11th.
While Ebola has no definitive cure, Pham is confident that it was a combination of the power of prayer from countless individuals around the world and the medical team at the designated Ebola center that got her through the scary ordeal.
Surrounded by her loved ones and the doctors who treated her, Pham thanked American missionary Dr. Kent Brantly "for his selfless act" of donating plasma during treatment.
"I feel fortunate and blessed to be standing here today," she said in a short statement as she stood at a podium. "I believe in the power of prayer because I know so many people all over the world have been praying for me. Although I no longer have Ebola, I know that it may be a while before I have my strength back."
While it's not entirely clear to the hospital staff which of Pham's treatments cured her, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says that the nurse tested negative in all five tests. Many of Pham's treatments were experimental, including plasma donated to her by Brantly, who beat the virus himself in September. Brantly has donated his plasma to several other Ebola patients in hopes of boosting their defenses with his antibodies.
In addition to giving thanks to all who helped her get through this ordeal, Pham asked for the public to respect her privacy as she regains her strength.
Only hours after leaving the treatment center, Pham visited with Barack Obama in the Oval Office where she gave him a hug to show that the president is confident in the healthy diagnosis of the nurse.
"She is a very devoted Catholic, and always puts the other people's interests ahead of her own," he said. "She comes from a family that is (of) a very strong faith."
Pham graduated from Texas Christian University in her hometown of Fort Worth, Texas and just received her certificate in critical care nursing only two months before contracting Ebola.
Pham is the second nurse, in addition to her colleague Amber Vinson, to be given a clean bill of health this week. Vinson is still being monitored in Atlanta, but has already been declared Ebola-free.
The World Health Organization says that 443 health care workers have contracted the virus worldwide, 244 of whom have died. More than 4,800 people have died from the virus in total since March, most of which occurred in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.
The WHO stated that hundreds of thousands of Ebola vaccinations will be produced in 2015 with some heading to West Africa as soon as December of this year.