Liberia has closed some borders in an effort to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. “All borders of Liberia will be closed with the exception of major entry points,” Liberia President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson said in a statement. The airport at Monrovia will remain open at this time.
An American doctor and an aid worker working for two charitable groups fighting Ebola in Liberia are among those infected with the deadly virus, one of the groups confirmed. Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, medical director for the aid group Samaritan’s Purse, and his colleague Nancy Writebol, are both being treated at the center in Monrovia where they were coincidentally working to help patients who had contracted the Ebola virus. Both are in stable condition, said Melissa Strickland, a spokeswoman for North Carolina-based Samaritan’s Purse.
“They have body aches and symptoms typical for Ebola but both are alert,” Strickland said.
Their cases prove just how difficult it can be to protect against Ebola, a highly contagious virus that’s spread by bodily fluids – something that is often unavoidable when victims, vomit, bleed or suffer from diarrhea.
The Ebola virus has infected nearly 1,100 people and killed 660 of them in the current West African outbreak, according to the World Health Organization. It’s the worst Ebola outbreak to ever be recorded. The virus has spread across borders between Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and was even brought aboard a plane for the first time ever when a Liberian citizen, Patrick Sawyer, collapsed a week ago after flying into Lagos. He’s since died and two tests came back positive for Ebola.
Brantly was treating patients while Writebol was working to help doctors and other health workers get in and out of protective gear when they became infected, Strickland said. That would include spraying them down with a chlorine solution and then stripping off and disposing each piece of gear.
“Obviously it is of great concern for us,” Strickland said. “We are working closely with CDC and WHO to investigate. It is just an incredibly contagious disease.”