Two Americans sticken with deadly Ebola virus in Liberia

NBC News — An American doctor and an aid worker working for two charitable groups fighting Ebola in Liberia have both become infected with the deadly virus, one of the groups confirmed. Liberia closed some borders to help prevent further spread of the virus.

“All borders of Liberia will be closed with the exception of major entry points,” Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson said in a statement. The airport at Monrovia will remain open.

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 working to help Ebola patients. 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 show just how difficult it can be to protect against Ebola, a highly contagious virus that’s spread by bodily fluids — something hard to avoid when victims vomit, bleed or suffer from diarrhea.

Ebola 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 ever recorded. The virus has spread across borders between Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and was taken by airliner 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.

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