(Reuters) - A Nebraska hospital on Thursday announced it has discharged an American healthcare worker who was at high risk for the Ebola virus while working in Sierra Leone but who did not develop the disease.
The patient had been monitored at the University of Nebraska Medical Center since arriving on Jan. 4 after a flight from Sierra Leone to Omaha, hospital officials said.
"We are happy to report the patient showed no clinical or laboratory evidence of Ebola infection,” Phil Smith, medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at the hospital, said in a statement. "The patient was regularly tested for the disease since arriving here in early January and every test came back negative for Ebola.”
The patient has left the Omaha area, the statement said.
The hospital did not disclose the age or gender of the patient, but did release a statement from the person.
"The hardest part of the last few weeks was leaving my patients in Sierra Leone, who were some of the sickest I have ever seen,” the patient said. “I hope to return to West Africa to help in the fight against Ebola but for now I am looking forward to spending some time with my family and friends."
Three other patients were treated last year for Ebola in the Biocontainment Unit last year, said hospital spokesman Taylor Wilson. Two of those patients were treated successfully and a third, who was gravely ill upon arrival, died.
Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever. The latest outbreak, first identified in Guinea's remote southeast in early 2014, has struck six West African nations, with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia bearing the brunt of the more than 21,000 infections and more than 8,600 dead.
Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Bill Trott