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Maine nurse's Ebola monitoring comes to an end

Maine nurse's Ebola monitoring comes to an end
In an October 31, 2014 file photo, Kaci Hickox comes out of her house to speak to reporters, in Fort Kent, Maine. Hickox's plans for the end of the deadly disease's 21-day incubation period on Monday, Nov. 11 include a dinner out with her boyfriend, but she told The Associated Press she's worried about what type of a reception she'll get after being hailed by some and vilified by others for battling state-ordered quarantines in New Jersey and Maine. (Robert F. Bukaty / AP)

The Maine nurse who defied quarantine attempts after treating Ebola patients in West Africa is looking forward to stepping out her front door "like normal people."

Kaci Hickox's plans for the end of the deadly disease's 21-day incubation period include a dinner out with her boyfriend, but she told the Associated Press she was worried about the reception she might receive after being hailed by some and vilified by others for successfully battling state-ordered quarantines in New Jersey and Maine.

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Most people have been supportive, she said, but others have been hateful. She received a letter from one person who said he hoped she would catch Ebola and die.

"We're still thankful we've had a lot of great support in this community, but I'd be lying if I said that it didn't make me a little bit nervous thinking about people from the other side of the debate and how they might react to me," she said from her Fort Kent home, on the northern edge of Maine.

Monday will mark the 21st day since Hickox's last exposure to an Ebola patient, a 10-year-old girl who suffered seizures before dying alone without family.

After 11:59 p.m. Monday, Hickox will no longer require daily monitoring for Ebola symptoms, and even those who sought to isolate her agree that she will no longer be a threat.

Hickox, who volunteered for Doctors Without Borders, she said she didn't intend to stop speaking out on behalf of public health workers, nor would she let her experience deter her from returning to West Africa.

"Something like quarantine is not going to scare me from doing the work that I love," she said. "I would return to Sierra Leone in a heartbeat."

For now, though, she's considering her options as she looks for work. Her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, says he was told to stay away from the University of Maine at Fort Kent while she was in the news. He formally withdrew from a nursing program at the school Friday.

The couple said they would be leaving town soon.

Hickox said the U.S. needed a public education campaign to better explain the virus that has killed nearly 5,000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

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