Ebola survivor Kent Brantly: 'My faith is part of who I am'

Dr Kent Brantly has spoken of his experience of surviving Ebola.Reuters

There was "nothing special about my faith", according to Ebola survivor Dr Kent Brantly, who with colleague Nancy Writebol was treated with experimental drug ZMapp after contracting the disease in Liberia a year ago.

Brantly and Writebol were flown back to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia for the treatment, which saw both of them recover. Brantly, who was in Liberia with his wife Amber and their children, has written a book about his experiences, Called for Life.

Interviewed for PBS Newshour by Hari Sreenavasan, he said: "I try not to compartmentalise my life into, this is my faith life, this is my work life, this is my family life.

"My faith is an integral part of who I am. It's part of the lens through which I view everything in life. So, I can't separate this experience from my faith."

Asked whether he survived because of the treatment he received rather than because of his faith, Brantly, a missionary doctor, said: "I wouldn't disagree with that statement. I don't think there is anything special about my faith that saved my life. If anything, my faith is what put me in a position where I got Ebola."

He said he was grateful to the US and Liberian governments and to those who had helped and treated him, adding: "I believe God used those people to save my life, not because of my great faith. It just is. And so I give God the credit for it. But I thank all of those people, and I love them."

He also spoke of the fear surrounding the disease, both in Liberia and the US. "People weren't sure what to make of a patient with Ebola being brought back to the United States, and then the recognition that, oh, there other people who have been in that country who are now walking around in public.

"And I think that created a lot of fear because of the unknown," he said.

In West Africa, he explained, there was sometimes a denial that Ebola was a real disease or that a loved one had contracted it.

Asked whether he would do it all again, he said: "I would. I would. That is what Amber and I feel like. That's the kind of life God has called us to. And in some ways, we're really eager to get back to that, to get out of a life where we're doing book tours and stuff and get back to the life of service that we feel called to."

Liberia was the country worst hit by the Ebola outbreak with an estimated 4,800 dead, nearly half of those infected. The end of the outbreak was declared on May 9, but a new case was reported on June 29.

A successful vaccine has been developed, but has yet to enter large-scale production.