Nina Pham ’10 “free of the Ebola virus,” NIH says

Nina Pham, a 2010 graduate of the Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences, was declared "free of the Ebola virus" today. (TV Screen capture)

Nina Pham, a 2010 graduate of the Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences, was declared “free of the Ebola virus” today. (TV Screen capture)

From TCU Magazine
By Rick Waters ’95

2010 graduate and Dallas nurse says she “feels blessed” after testing five times to be “virus-free.”

Pham, 26, is “cured of Ebola,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Pham, who contracted the disease while treating Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital earlier this month, had been receiving treatment in Maryland since Oct. 16.

“Our patient, Nina Pham, is free of the Ebola virus. She has no virus in her,” said Fauci, noting that doctors got five consecutive negative responses to her PCR tests, which determine if a patient has the virus.

“She feels well. She looks extraordinary well,” he added.

Dressed in a turquoise blouse and business suit, Pham attended a news conference in Maryland, joined by her family. Pham hugged Fauci before reading a statement. She did not take any questions from the media.

“I feel fortunate and blessed to be standing here today,” Pham said. “Throughout this ordeal, I’ve put my trust in God and my medical team. I am on my way back to recovery even as I reflect on how many others have not been so fortunate. I am so incredibly thankful for everyone involved in my care.”

Pham and her family are expected to fly home to Texas today.

In addition to Texas Presbyterian and NIH doctors and nurses, Pham thanked Dr. Kent Brantly, who donated plasma to her after his own recovery a month ago. Brantly, also of Fort Worth, was one of the first U.S. doctors to become infected with Ebola while treating patients in West Africa.

“As a nurse, I have a special appreciation for the care I received from so many people. Not just from doctors and nurses but the whole support team,” she said.
“I believe in the power of prayer because I know so many people all over the world have been praying for me,” she continued. “I do not know how I can ever thank everyone enough for their prayers and expressions of concern, hope and love.”

NIHPham said she joins those praying for the recovery of fellow Texas Presbyterian nurse Amber Vinson and Doctors Without Borders physician Craig Spencer.

Moments after the press conference, Emory Hospital in Atlanta reported that tests no longer detect Ebola in Vinson. Her discharge date has not been set.

Pham asked for privacy for herself and her family as they return to Texas. She also expressed excitement to reconnect with her dog Bentley.

“This whole experience has been very stressful and challenging for me and for my family,” she said. “Although I no longer have Ebola, I know it may be a while before I have my strength back.”

Earlier, Fauci commended Pham as a devoted nurse and acknowledged that he was wearing a purple ribbon to designate the school colors of Pham’s alma mater, the Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences at TCU.

“We should have a shoutout for Texas Christian [University] for training such an extraordinary individual,” Fauci said.

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