The families of Ebola victims Amber Vinson and Thomas Eric Duncan have spoken out to give thanks for the public's prayers, God's presence in their lives, and ask for continued prayers for the country.
"The past several days have been the most trying our family has collectively ever faced," Vinson's family said in a statement.
"We remain intensely prayerful and optimistic about Amber's condition and the treatment she is currently receiving. Our prayers and thoughts also go out to Amber's colleague, Nina Pham, and the Dallas and Ohio communities impacted by this tragedy. Although the majority of the correspondences we have received since her diagnosis have been positive, we are troubled by some of the negative public comments and media coverage that mischaracterize Amber and her actions."
The family then goes on to state that Vinson was "in no way careless prior to or after her exposure to Mr. Duncan. She has not and would not knowingly expose herself or anyone else. Suggestions that she ignored any of the physician and government-provided protocols recommended to her are patently untrue and hurtful. In the interest of Amber and our family, we have retained esteemed attorney Billy Martin to provide us with legal counsel during this unfortunate and troubling time. We thank everyone for their prayers and support."
Vinson was the second nurse to be infected with the Ebola virus and was slammed by Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for flying with a temperature of 99.5 degrees.
"She should not have traveled on a commercial airline," Frieden said, though he added that there was "an extremely low likelihood" that anyone on the flight was exposed to Ebola. "She did not vomit; she was not bleeding."
Duncan, the first Ebola victim in Dallas, Texas, died after being treated for the disease. His family was put in quarantine and has shown no symptoms of Ebola. The quarantine has now passed and the family will be free to leave their temporary residence. They issued a statement regarding their situation and the loss of their loved one.
"Our happiness is mixed with sadness at the same time," Louise Troh, Duncan's fiancé said in the statement. "Even though the quarantine is over, our time of mourning is not over. Because of that, we ask to be given privacy as we seek to rebuild our home, our family and our daily living. The many people who work with and for them [Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins], and also the state health workers who have cared for us have been angels from God who have kept our spirits up through all of this. And of course, I want to thank all my family, the Liberian community, and my friends at Wilshire Baptist Church."
"We also know that many people who work in Presbyterian Hospital are hurting because of this tragedy. We pray that God will bring healing to all in our community soon. We thank all people of kindness who have prayed for us during this time, and we join your prayers now for others who are suffering too. We have lost so much, but we have our lives and we have our faith in God, which always gives us hope," Troh added.
Vinson has been transferred to Emory University Hospital in Georgia, where there is specialized care for Ebola victims. U.S. missionaries Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were successfully treated at the same hospital and released in August.