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USPHS releases first set of Ebola survivors

The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps has announced that two patients, both Liberian healthcare workers, were released Monday from the Monrovia Medical Unit (MMU). Both patients have recovered from Ebola and are virus-free.

Stanley Sayonkon, a 42-year-old nurse, and Mark Tate, a 43-year-old clinic records specialist, were admitted to the MMU, a 25-bed field hospital constructed by the U.S. Department of Defense, earlier this month and were successfully treated for Ebola.  The MMU’s mission is to care for health care workers who become infected with Ebola.

Both Mr. Sayonkon and Mr. Tate have returned home to their families. Before they left the facility, both men left their “mark of survival,” a yellow handprint, on the MMU’s Ebola survival wall.

The colors of the wall, maritime blue and quarantine yellow, are the official colors of the USPHS and symbolic of the long history of the USPHS’ fight against infectious pathogens. Both Sayonkon and Tate expressed gratitude to the staff at the MMU for providing care, and helping them recover from Ebola.

“We couldn’t be more honored to have Mr. Sayonkon and Mr. Tate walk out of the clinic cured of Ebola,”Rear Admiral Scott Giberson, Acting U.S. Deputy Surgeon General, said. “They are health care heroes.  I also want to thank all our officers for their superb service in providing care to Mr. Sayonkon and Mr. Tate, and to future health care workers, who may seek care at the MMU.”

Health care workers, such as doctors and nurses, are at a higher risk of infection, because they are in close, sustained contact with Ebola patients who are symptomatic and infectious.   Since opening its doors at the beginning of November, the MMU has received and provided care for 4 patients, all Liberian health care workers.

The USPHS announcement is not only good news for the two patients, but a positive sign for other brave health care workers on the front lines, that there are resources for them if they become ill with Ebola. The MMU is staffed by a specialized team of officers from the USPHS Commissioned Corps. This mission is led by Rear Admiral Scott Giberson, Acting U.S. Deputy Surgeon General.

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The Commissioned Corps, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is a deployable uniformed service of the United States, with more than 6,800 full-time, highly qualified public health professionals, serving the most underserved and vulnerable populations both domestically and abroad.

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