British nurse survives Ebola, released from hospital

Last Updated Sep 3, 2014 1:47 PM EDT

A British nurse infected with Ebola was discharged Wednesday from a London hospital after making a full recovery, the hospital said.

William Pooley, 29, contracted the deadly disease while treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. The outbreak in West Africa has also hit Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal, and has killed more than 1,500 people.

Pooley was flown back to Britain on Aug. 24 and was cared for in a special isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital. He thanked the hospital staff for its successful treatment of his case, saying he was "wonderfully lucky" to have survived.

In addition to specialized care, Pooley received an experimental drug, ZMapp. The drug has not yet been proven effective in human clinical trials, but does appear to work in primates.

"There's no real way of telling what impact it had," Pooley said of the drug, "but a day or so after having it I was feeling a lot better and the numbers in terms of my viral load were much improved, but we don't know whether that was down to the Zmapp or whether that was going to happen anyway."

Pooley is one of seven people who have received the limited doses available of ZMapp during the current outbreak. Two have died and the rest have survived.

Pooley also credited doctors and nurses at the London hospital for helping him make it through.

"I was very lucky in several ways: firstly in the standard of care that I received, which is a world apart from what people are receiving in West Africa, despite various organizations' best efforts," Pooley told reporters. "The other difference is that my symptoms never progressed to the worst stage of the disease."

He told reporters he had no regrets about his decision to go to West Africa, but that he had mixed memories of both the horrible deaths suffered by Ebola patients and the wonderful moments when survivors were released.

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