Dr. Kent Brantly, a Samaritan’s Purse missionary from Texas who survived Ebola after contracting the deadly virus on a mission trip to Africa, spoke at a public forum at his alma mater, Abilene Christian University, sharing his experience with the disease and thoughts on the fear of Ebola.
“I am particularly thrilled to be alive,” Brantly, who contracted Ebola in Liberia while working as a missionary doctor but was eventually cleared from the disease, said at the Moody Coliseum at ACU, Texas, on Friday.
“There has been a lot of panic, a lot of – I hesitate to use word hysteria – around the events in Dallas,” Brantly said, alluding to Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with the Ebola virus in the United States.
Duncan died at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital earlier this week. The Liberian national, who came to the U.S. to marry his fiancée weeks before he died, had not been given any experimental treatment – such as ZMapp or convalescent serum made from the blood of Ebola survivors.
Ebola – which can cause fever, vomiting and diarrhea – spreads through contact with bodily fluids such as blood or saliva. Since it began in West Africa in March, it has taken more than 4,000 lives.
“I just want to tell everyone that yes, Ebola is a serious devastating disease and for those number of people who have been identified as contacts of an Ebola patient, they need to be monitoring themselves, they need to be cooperating with the authorities, with the CDC, and it’s very serious for them, but for the rest of us we don’t need to be worried,” Brantly told the crowd.
While some accused Duncan of coming to the United States despite knowing that he had contracted the virus, the pastor of his American fiancée said Duncan was perhaps not aware of it.
“I think it’s very important for us to remember that he was not able to tell us about that personally or publicly,” Wilshire Baptist Church Senior Pastor George Mason, told The Christian Post earlier. “So any conclusions that we draw from that are really our own [and] not coming from him personally.”