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2 Americans in Liberia infected by Ebola virus

MONROVIA, Liberia — An American physician was being treated Sunday for the deadly Ebola virus, highlighting the risks facing health workers trying to combat the outbreak.

A second American, a missionary working in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, also took ill and was being treated in isolation there, said the pastor of a North Carolina church that sponsored her work.

The American physician, Kent Brantly, 33, was in Liberia helping to respond to the outbreak that has killed 129 people nationwide when he fell ill, according to a North Carolina-based medical charity, Samaritan's Purse.

He was receiving intensive medical care in a Monrovia hospital and was in stable condition, said Melissa Strickland, a spokeswoman for the aid group. "We are hopeful, but he is certainly not out of the woods yet," she said.

Early treatment improves a patient's chances of survival, and Brantly recognized his own symptoms and began receiving care immediately, Strickland said.

The American missionary, Nancy Writebol, was gravely ill and in isolation in Monrovia, her husband, David, said, according to the Rev. John Munro, pastor of Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C.

Munro said the couple, who had been in Liberia for about a year, insisted on staying there despite the Ebola threat. "These are real heroes — people who do things quietly behind the scenes, people with a very strong vocation and very strong faith," he said.

Brantly's wife and children had been living with him in Liberia but flew home to the United States about a week ago, before the doctor started showing any signs of illness, Strickland said.

"They have absolutely shown no symptoms," she said.

Brantly's mother said the family was declining to comment.

2 Americans in Liberia infected by Ebola virus 07/27/14 [Last modified: Monday, July 28, 2014 12:30am]
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