An American healthcare worker who contracted the Ebola virus while caring for patients in Sierra Leone has recovered and was released from the hospital Thursday.
The National Institutes of Health said the patient, whose identity was not made public, was discharged from the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where he had been getting treatment since March 13.
The NIH said the patient no longer shows any sign of the Ebola virus in blood tests and is not contagious.
The patient worked for the non-profit group Partners in Health at an Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone when he contracted the virus. In mid-March, his health deteriorated to critical condition, but he managed to pull through.
"We're heartened by the news that our colleague is heading home, free of Ebola, and making his way toward a full recovery," Sheila Davis, chief of Ebola response for Partners in Health, said in a statement.
More than a dozen other healthcare workers who had contact with the patient in Sierra Leone were also transported to the U.S. to be monitored for Ebola, but none of them got sick. They were cleared by health officials last week and allowed to go home. Two are already heading back to Sierra Leone to resume their work, the group said.
"Our colleague's selflessness reminds us that the fight in West Africa is not over," said Davis.
In recent weeks the outbreak has slowed significantly, but the World Health Organization reports that a small number of cases continue to emerge in Sierra Leone and Guinea. Since the Ebola outbreak began last year, more than 25,000 people have gotten sick, and more than 10,500 have died.