UK & World News

  • 28 July 2014, 10:32

American Doctor Infected With Deadly Ebola

An American doctor working with Ebola patients in Liberia has tested positive for the deadly virus.

Kent Brantly, 33, recognised his own symptoms and confined himself to an isolation ward.

The medic, who is married and has children, is being treated at a hospital in the capital Monrovia.

Another US citizen has also been infected with the virus, according to the Samaritan's Purse aid organisation, for which Dr Brantly works.

Nancy Writebolis not employed by Samaritan's Purse, its spokesman told Sky News, but was working with their staff in a Monrovia hospital.

She had been working as a hygienist who decontaminated those entering and leaving the hospital's Ebola care area.

"It's been a shock to everyone on our team to have two of our players get pounded with the disease," said Ken Isaacs, a spokesman for North Carolina-based Samaritan's Purse.

Dr Brantly has body aches and fever but is in a stable condition.

Mr Isaacs told Sky News the doctor is "not out of the woods yet", but "we remain optimistic that he will survive".

Ebola patients have a better chance of survival if they seek treatment soon after infection, as Dr Brantly did.

The disease has killed at least 672 people in four West African countries since the outbreak began earlier this year in Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Nigeria's airports and ports are on red alertfollowing the death of a man from Liberia who was carrying the virus. It was the first case in Africa's most populous country.

He vomited and had a high fever on board a passenger plane, and was immediately quarantined upon arrival in the capital Lagos.

But he died in hospital from the virus on Friday.

His flight had a stopover in Togo which is also on high alert as it may have spread there too.

Dr Brantly, a family practice physician from Fort Worth, Texas, began working in Africa as part of a post-residency programme before the Ebola outbreak began.

His family had been living with him in Africa but they are currently in the US.

Dr Brantly is a medical director at an Ebola case management centre run by Samaritan's Purse.

Photos show him working in white overalls made of a synthetic material that he wore for several hours each day while treating Ebola patients.

Earlier this year, he was quoted on the organisation's website about efforts to maintain an isolation ward for patients.

"The hospital is taking great effort to be prepared," Dr Brantly said.

"In past Ebola outbreaks, many of the casualties have been healthcare workers who contracted the disease through their work caring for infected individuals."

Ebola is highly contagious and kills up to 90% of people infected.

It is passed by touching bodily fluids of patients even after they die, said Dr Unni Krishnan from Plan International.

Traditional burials that include rubbing the bodies of the dead contribute to the spread of the disease, he added.

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