TWO doctors fighting the Ebola virus in West Africa have died,
and two aid workers are being treated for the disease, which has
killed 672 people in this latest outbreak, the UN reports.
Two US aid workers working with the Christian charity
Samaritan's Purse and its missionary partner Serving in Mission
(SIM) have also contracted Ebola, which has no known cure. The
charity confirmed that Dr Kent Brantly and a missionary, Nancy
Writebol, who was working as a hygienist in a hospital, are
undergoing treatment in separate isolation units in Liberia.
On Thursday, Samaritan's Purse reported that Dr Brantly
and Mrs Writebol had "shown a slight improvement in the last 24
hours", but that "both remain in a serious
The president of SIM USA, Bruce Johnson, said: "The next few
days are critical in assessing the recovery of these Ebola-crisis
responders. SIM and Samaritan's Purse invite people to pray for the
full restoration of our two workers, and for the stemming of the
spread of this virus across Liberia and other nations of West
The virus has a fatality rate of up to 90 per cent, but a friend
of Dr Brantly said that he had "no regrets" about his decision to
move to Liberia. His wife and two young children, who had been in
Liberia with him, had returned to visit family in the US when Dr
Brantly came down with symptoms.
On Thursday, the government of Sierra Leone declared a public
health emergency in an attempt to control the spread of the
disease. The president, Ernest Bai Koroma, said that the
military would be used to enforce a quarantine area.
The doctor who led the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone,
Sheik Umar Khan, has died a week after showing symptoms of the
disease. Government officials hailed him as a "national hero". In
Liberia, a prominent doctor, Samuel Brisbane, died of the virus at
The outbreak - the world's deadliest to date - was first
reported in Guinea in February. It then spread to Liberia and
Sierra Leone. Nigeria has reported its first case - a Liberian
ministry official who had flown into Lagos. Flights by the airline,
Asky, which had brought him into the country, have been
The Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, held an emergency meeting
on Wednesday, and said that the Government was focused on tackling
the threat to the UK.