Nina Pham spoke publicly Friday after being cured of her Ebola infection.
"I feel fortunate and blessed to be standing here today," she said from a podium set up outside of her treating hospital, the National Institutes of Health's facility in Bethesda, Maryland. "I do not know how I can ever thank everyone enough for their prayers and the expressions of concern, hope, and love."
Pham, a 26-year-old nurse from Dallas, tested positive for Ebola on October 11, just a few days after her patient, Liberian man Thomas Eric Duncan, died of the disease. According to ABC News
, she was the first person to ever contract the disease in America.
A fellow nurse also caring for Duncan, 29-year-old Amber Vinson, also contracted the disease a few days after Pham did. Vinson's family said Wednesday she was also cured, but she remains at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
NBC freelance cameraman Ashoka Mukpo was declared Ebola-free on Tuesday.
During her prepared speech, Pham said she was looking forward to being reunited with her dog, Bentley — who has tested negative for Ebola — as well as her family and friends. Bentley's potential incubation period, 21 days, ends in early November.
"I am on my way back to recovery even as I reflect on others who have not been so fortunate," she said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said during the press conference that Pham recently tested negative for the disease five times.
Some credited Pham's recovery to a blood transfusion she received from fellow Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly, but Fauci said it was unclear if the transfusion alone cured her, as she was given a number of experimental treatments.
"I want to first tell you what a great pleasure and in many respects, a privilege . . . to have the opportunity to treat and care for and get to know such an extremely courageous and lovely person," Fauci said.
Several news outlets said Friday that President Barack Obama was scheduled to meet with Pham soon.
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