Doctor speaks on Ebola stigma amidst patients' release

Release of Ebola patients causes concern

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- While most everyone welcomes the good news for Ebola patients Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, their release has caused some health concerns. Friday, local experts shot down Ebola stigma and explain why the public shouldn't be worried.

Emory Hospital doctors believe Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol pose no risk to the public, but despite clear signs, there's no way around skepticism.

"I don't know if I would want to be the one to go shake their hands at first," said one Charlotte man.

Doctor Michael Blocker, infectious disease specialist at Novant Health, says once the body's immune system overcomes the virus, symptoms go away and patients are no longer contagious.

"You could walk up to one of these people on the street and shake their hand and you would have no risk," said Dr. Blocker.

For those who think the release happened too fast, Dr. Blocker says the timeline of a few weeks did not surprise him because the virus is acute.

"It hits you, hits you pretty hard, and in the setting of West Africa, people either die or get better," said Dr. Blocker.

So far about 55-precent die. Blocker says if the virus spread here in the U.S., the rate would be much lower.

Many trust doctor's decision for the release.

"I just think the doctors have enough sense to know what they're doing, and if those patients were not safe to be in the public they wouldn't be out. So, I think if they've released them-- they're in good shape and I hope them well, hope they're healing well," said one Charlotte woman.


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