Alarm has soared in west Africa over the deadliest Ebola virus outbreak yet, with an American doctor and a missionary contracting the disease in Liberia and the death of the first victim from Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown.
Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian charity, said its physician Kent Brantly, 33, was in a stable condition and had been isolated at the group’s Ebola treatment centre at the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia.
Nancy Writebol, a missionary with the SIM Christian charity that runs the hospital, was also stable as of Sunday morning, according to Samaritan’s Purse.
“They’re both receiving intensive early treatment, but certainly it’s a dangerous situation and a frightening situation,” spokeswoman Melissa Strickland told AFP.
“We remain optimistic for his recovery, but certainly he is not out of the woods,” Strickland said of Dr Brantly.
An Ebola epidemic has killed at least 660 people in four west African countries since the start of the year, according to World Health Organisation statistics.
On Saturday, a woman with the first confirmed case of Ebola in Sierra Leone’s capital died after her parents forcibly took her from hospital, the health ministry in Freetown said.
Saudatu Koroma, a 32-year-old trainee hairdresser, was admitted to a clinic on July 23 and tested positive for the disease, which has already killed more than 200 people in the west African country.
Koroma’s disappearance had prompted Freetown authorities to broadcast a nationwide radio and television campaign, which eventually persuaded her to return for treatment, Tunis said.
Freetown’s first Ebola case comes after the incurable disease was confirmed to have reached Lagos in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest city.
The health ministry said on Friday that a 40-year-old Liberian man died at a private hospital from the disease, after collapsing at Lagos international airport.