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Mass. Doctor Who Had Ebola Is Released

Former Ebola patient Dr. Richard Sacra at a news conference just after he was cleared of the virus on Sept. 25, 2014. (Nati Harnik/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
Former Ebola patient Dr. Richard Sacra at a news conference just after he was cleared of the virus on Sept. 25, 2014. (Nati Harnik/AP)

The Massachusetts doctor who contracted Ebola in West Africa was released from the hospital Thursday.

Dr. Richard Sacra, the third American to have fallen ill with the disease, says federal officials and his medical team at the Nebraska Medical Center have declared him disease-free, 20 days after he arrived back in the U.S. from Liberia.

Though at a news conference Thursday, he said he still feels weak.

“Though my crisis has reached a successful end here, unfortunately the Ebola crisis continues to spin out of control.”

Dr. Richard Sacra

"I just have no reserve, no energy, I'm very very weak. But for the routine sitting around talking, even walking around, I feel great," said Sacra, who contracted Ebola while working at a hospital in Liberia with the North Carolina-based charity SIM.

Sacra received a number of treatments including an experimental Tekmira Pharmaceuticals drug called TKM-Ebola and two blood transfusions from fellow Ebola survivor Kent Bradley. A survivor's blood is believed to carry antibodies for the disease. He also received supportive care including IV fluids and aggressive electrolyte management.

"I never felt like I was not going to make it. The care was so excellent, so speedy and so prompt," Sacra said.

The 51-year-old resides in Holden but practiced at the Family Health Center in Worcester. He spent the past two decades traveling between Massachusetts and Monrovia, Liberia. He decided to return to Liberia after two other aid workers fell ill with the deadly virus.

Two other American patients, Bradley and Nancy Writebol, have been discharged from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. A fourth American is still being treated in Atlanta.

"I would like to request a continued outpouring of prayer and practical help for the people of West Africa," Sacra said. "Though my crisis has reached a successful end here, unfortunately the Ebola crisis continues to spin out of control."

The World Health Organization says the Ebola virus is believed to have killed more than 2,900 people in West Africa, The Associated Press reported. Governments are scrambling to contain the disease outbreak and the United States has promised to send 3,000 soldiers to the region to help.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

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