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By James Queally, Los Angeles Times

The American doctor who contracted Ebola while helping treat victims of a deadly outbreak that has claimed more than 1,000 lives in West Africa says his condition is improving, according to a statement issued Friday.

Kent Brantly, who contracted the virus last month while treating patients in Liberia as part of an aid mission with the charity Samaritan’s Purse, has been recovering steadily after he was flown to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment.

“I thank God for the healthcare team here who is giving me compassionate, world-class care. I am more grateful every day to the Lord for sparing my life and continuing to heal my body,” Brantly said in a statement released by the charity. “There are still a few hurdles to clear before I can be discharged, but I hold on to the hope of a sweet reunion with my wife, children, and family in the near future.”

Brantly and fellow volunteer Nancy Writebol are being treated at Emory after they contracted the virus in Monrovia. They are the first Ebola patients to be treated on American soil.

The patients are being treated in a special isolation unit, one of only a handful in the country.

Writebol’s condition has also been steadily improving, according to a statement issued by Service in Mission, the charity Writebol was working with.

There is no known cure for Ebola, but both patients have been treated with an experimental serum that medical professionals hope will combat the virus’ effects. The serum, Zmapp, was developed in San Diego and had not previously been tested on humans.

AFP Photo/Inaki Gomez

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