MOSCOW, October 25 (RIA Novosti) - US President Barack Obama is not at risk of contracting the Ebola virus after hugging Nina Pham who just recovered from the infection, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
"He [the President] was not at all concerned about any risk that would be associated with him showing his gratitude to her [Pham] by hugging her," Earnest told reporters at a press briefing Friday.
Pham, a healthcare worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, treated Eric Duncan who was infected with Ebola and died on October 8. Pham later contracted Ebola and was treated at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.
"She [Pham] is somebody who has tested negative five times for the Ebola virus. Her doctors, who are some of the foremost experts in the field, have confirmed that she is virus-free," Earnest stated.
The current Ebola epidemic, one of the current global security issues, started in southern Guinea at the end of 2013 and later spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal.
The Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids of those infected with the disease. There is no officially-approved medication to combat the Ebola virus, although several countries are currently working on vaccines.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 4,877 people have lost their lives to Ebola, with 9,936 confirmed, likely and suspected cases having been reported in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Spain and the United States.
The WHO recently declared Nigeria and Senegal Ebola-free.