Dr. Rick Sacra, the third American missionary to be treated for Ebola after the devastating West African outbreak, is headed home.
Sacra, 51, has been released from his room in the biocontainment unit at The Nebraska Medical Center after the CDC confirmed that two separate blood samples taken a day apart show no signs of the virus in his body.
“I am so grateful,” Sacra said in a news conference Thursday morning. “Just so incredibly grateful to have gotten through this illness. Many were praying for me, even people I did not know personally. During the time I was here, there was a growing confidence that God was answering those prayers, and that I was steadily improving.”
Sacra received an experimental Ebola treatment, TKM-Ebola, as well as a blood donation from Dr. Kent Brantly, another American missionary infected and subsequently cured of the disease.
Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the biocontainment unit at the Omaha hospital, said that seeing Sacra walk out alive “was very gratifying.”
“When he arrived three weeks ago, he was extremely ill with a virus the world doesn’t have a lot of experience treating,” he said. “To know that we were able to play a role in helping his body fight off the virus so he could be reunited with his family and continue doing the work he’s so passionate about makes the years we’ve spent training and preparing for something like this more than worth it.”
Sacra thanked his medical team, saying they “provided an incredibly high level of care” and kept him entertained with books, chess games and conversations during his stay.