Texas doctor who moved to Africa to help Ebola patients has contracted the disease

Dr Kent Brantly, pictured with his wife and children

A Texas doctor who had moved to Liberia to work for a medical charity has been infected with the deadly Ebola virus.

Dr Kent Brantly, who moved to the country before the outbreak, is now being treated for the disease at a Liberia hospital as news that one of the West African nation’s most respected physicians has died from the virus.

A government official confirmed that Dr Samuel Brisbane, chief medical doctor at the country’s largest hospital, passed away Saturday in the largest outbreak of Ebola.

Ebola, one of the world’s deadliest viruses, has been spreading through West Africa, with the latest case being confirmed in Nigeria after an infected businessman traveled there by plane…

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Why Ebola spinning out of control

Ebola outbreak poses threat to African economies (Financial Times, reader restrictions, thus a brief excerpt):

The World Health Organisation has put the death toll so far at 660 people since the outbreak started in Guinea’s remote Forest Region in February. This surpasses the previous record of 425 in Uganda in 2000 and the 280 victims of the first known outbreak in 1976, in a remote village near the Ebola river in what is today the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We need to step up the response and we need to do it fast”, says Zabulon Yoti, a team leader with the WHO in Sierra Leone.

But health workers working in remote areas face daunting challenges. This is the first big outbreak in west Africa and the region has no experience in dealing with the disease and is ill equipped to combat it. Anja Wolz, emergency co-ordinator with MSF who is running the Ebola treatment centre in Kailahun…said doctors were “running behind Ebola”.
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Public health infrastructure in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea varies from weak to non-existent. Average annual per capita spending on healthcare ranges from $32 in Guinea to $96 in Liberia, according to the World Bank. This compares with $8,895 in the US…

Funerals of Ebola victims have been identified as a particular problem because bodies are traditionally washed by hand, putting mourners at risk of infection. And not everyone has confidence in the aid workers’ ability to help: on Friday a female victim was taken from hospital in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, by her family and is now being sought by health officials and the police.

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