Dallas nurse Nina Pham Ebola-free

Dallas nurse Nina Pham Ebola-free
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Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola after treating the first case diagnosed in the U.S., is now virus free, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"I believe in the power of prayer," Pham said a press briefing Friday in Bethesda, Md. outside of NIH headquarters.
 
"She has no virus in her," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, adding that "she looks extraordinarily well."
 
Pham was the first nurse to contract Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who traveled to the U.S. and died in a Texas hospital Oct. 8 after contracting the disease.
 
Pham showed signs of improvement during several days of care at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas before she was transferred to the NIH facility in Maryland, Fauci said, adding it was difficult to determine a turning point.
 
The 26-year-old nurse was declared Ebola-free after five consecutive tests produced negative results, Fauci said, adding no experimental drugs were used in her treatment. 
 
"I feel fortunate and blessed to be standing here today," Pham said in prepared remarks. 
 
She offered words of encouragement to another Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola, Amber Vinson, who appeared free of the virus earlier this week after undergoing treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, as well as New York doctor Craig Spencer who was confirmed to have the disease late Thursday.
 
Pham also praised the "selfless act" of Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly who donated plasma to her and two others who contracted the disease. 
 
Officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital hailed Pham’s recovery and said they were looking forward to welcoming her back.

"Her courage and spirit, first in treating a critically ill Ebola patient and then in winning her own battle against the disease, has truly inspired all of us," said Barclay Berdan, CEO of Texas Health Resources which oversees the hospital, in a statement.
 
Pham said she plans to return home to Texas to reunite with her dog Bentley, who also tested negative for the virus this week. 
 
Any potential restrictions on her travel home are being kept confidential, Fauci said.
 
"I know that it may be a while before I have my strength back," she added.

— This story was last updated at 2:54 p.m.