French Nurse Cured Of Ebola In Europe

(AFP) A French nurse and a Senegalese doctor who contracted Ebola while working with patients in epidemic-hit west Africa have been cured of the virus in European hospitals, health officials said Saturday.

The first French national to be infected with Ebola was airlifted back to France from Liberia on September 19 and received experimental treatment at a military hospital on the outskirts of Paris.

The young nurse, who has not been identified, “is now cured and has left hospital,” French Health Minister Marisol Touraine said in a statement.

And in Germany, the university hospital in the northern city of Hamburg announced Saturday that a Senegalese doctor with the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been cured of Ebola contracted in Sierra Leone.

“He is doing well and has not been contagious for a while now,” the Hamburg-Eppendorf hospital said in a statement.

“We are truly happy for him that he can now return to his country.”

The doctor, an expert in epidemiology who was not identified, had been admitted to the German hospital in late August. There was no mention of whether he had received any experimental drugs.

In France, where the health ministry has authorised using three experimental medicines, the nurse who was a volunteer with Doctors without Borders (MSF) in Liberia, the country worst-hit by the Ebola epidemic.

She, was given the antiviral medicine Agivan or favipiravir, according to the Japanese firm Toyama Chemical, a subsidiary of FujiFilm Holdings, which produces the drug that was approved in Japan in March. French health officials would not confirm its use.

There is no licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola. Of several prototype treatments in the pipeline, one dubbed ZMapp has been fast-tracked for use, developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical in California, in conjunction with the US Army.

Ebola has killed more than 3,400 people in five west African countries in the worst-ever outbreak of the disease.

MSF chief Stephane Roquee said the humanitarian group was “greatly relieved” that its volunteer nurse had been cured, but he warned that more health care workers in west Africa were in danger of contracting the disease.

“For the good of all the people in the countries most affected, MSF can only once more call on nations with the means to act immediately to contain this epidemic,” he said in a statement.

On Friday Germany reported that another medical official, a Ugandan doctor who was infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone while working for an Italian non-governmental organisation, had been hospitalised in Frankfurt.

More than 373 medical personnel have been infected with Ebola since the outbreak of the epidemic at the start of this year, and some 208 have died, according to MSF.