(Adds comments from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
By Julie Steenhuysen
CHICAGO, April 9 (Reuters) - A U.S. healthcare worker who was being treated for Ebola at a National Institutes of Health hospital in Maryland has been declared free of the virus and was released from the hospital on Thursday, according to the U.S. aid agency Partners In Health.
The health worker, whose name will not be released, was admitted to the NIH facility on March 13. He contracted Ebola while working for Partners In Health in Sierra Leone.
According to the group, their colleague was declared Ebola-free after two consecutive negative tests, and has been declared no longer contagious and able to return home.
The NIH confirmed the release, saying the patient was no longer contagious and was discharged in good condition. The NIH said in a statement that it would provide no additional information on the healthcare worker.
Sheila Davis, chief of Ebola response for Boston-based Partners In Health, said the group was "heartened by the news that our colleague is heading home, free of Ebola, and making his way toward a full recovery."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 16 healthcare workers, including the infected patient, were flown from Sierra Leone to the United States for care and monitoring last month. Most were employed by Partners in Health.
CDC spokeswoman Kathy Harben said all the healthcare workers who were transported to the United States from Sierra Leone have completed their period of active monitoring. Only the patient who was treated at the NIH hospital was infected with Ebola.
The virus has killed more than 10,500 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, but only a handful of cases have been seen in the United States, Spain and Britain. (Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Toni Reinhold)