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American doctor in Liberia tests positive for Ebola; virus blamed for Liberian doctor's death

By The Associated Press
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BOONE, N.C. (AP) -- An American doctor working with Ebola patients in Liberia has tested positive for the deadly virus, an aid organization said Saturday. Meanwhile, one of Liberia's most high-profile doctors has died of Ebola.

North Carolina-based Samaritan's Purse issued a news release saying that Dr. Kent Brantly tested positive for the disease and was being treated at a hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. Brantly is the medical director for the aid organization's case management center in the city.

Brantly, 33, has been working with Samaritan's Purse in Liberia since October 2013 as part of the charity's post-residency program for doctors, said the group's spokeswoman Melissa Strickland. The organization's website says he had worked as a family practice physician in Fort Worth, Texas.

The highly contagious virus is one of the most deadly diseases in the world. Photos of Brantly working in Liberia show him in white coveralls made of a synthetic material that he wore for hours a day while treating Ebola patients.

Brantly was quoted in a posting on the organization's website earlier this year about efforts to maintain an isolation ward for patients.

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

Strickland says that Brantly's wife and children had been living with him in Africa, but they are currently in the U.S.

A woman who identified herself as Brantly's mother answered a U.S. phone listing for him, but said family members are declining comment at this time.

The deadly disease has killed at least 672 in several African countries since the outbreak began earlier this year.

LIBERIAN DOCTOR'S DEATH

One of Liberia's most high-profile doctors has died of Ebola, a government official said Sunday, highlighting the risks facing health workers trying to combat the deadly disease.

Dr. Samuel Brisbane is the first Liberian doctor to die in an outbreak the World Health Organization says has killed 129 people in the West African nation. A Ugandan doctor working in the country died earlier this month.

The WHO says the outbreak, the largest ever recorded, has also killed 319 people in Guinea and 224 in Sierra Leone.

Brisbane, who once served as a medical adviser to former Liberian President Charles Taylor, was working as a consultant with the internal medicine unit at the country's largest hospital, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center in Monrovia.

After falling ill with Ebola, he was taken to a treatment center on the outskirts of the capital, where he died, said Tolbert Nyenswah, an assistant health minister.

Under the supervision of health workers, family members escorted the doctor's body to a burial location west of the city, Nyenswah said.

He added that another doctor who had been working in Liberia's central Bong County was also being treated for Ebola at the same center where Brisbane died.

The situation "is getting more and more scary," Nyenswah said.
Associated Categories: National News, Local/State News

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