Ebola virus: US aid worker infected with disease as major airline cancels all services to countries affected by outbreak

The announcement came amid what the World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling the largest outbreak ever recorded of the disease

A US aid worker has been infected with the deadly Ebola virus while treating victims of the disease at a hospital in West Africa.

Nancy Writebol, a missionary sent by the Calvary Church in North Carolina, becomes the second American citizen to contract the virus after Dr Kent Brantly, a doctor also working at an Ebola centre in the capital of Liberia, Monrovia.

It came as Arik Air, one of West Africa’s biggest airlines, suspended all services to Liberia and Sierra Leone in response to what is now the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history.

The virus is suspected to have killed more than 670 people across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and on Friday the Nigerian government confirmed its first case – the death of a Liberian man who had flown to Lagos via Lome in Togo.

It is that news which sparked Arik Air’s decision to shut down all its operations into Monrovia and Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.

Read more:
The 10 biggest threats to the world's health
Ebola virus spreads to Nigeria by plane

The Nigeria-based airline issued a statement urging the government to ban all inbound flights from the three countries affected by Ebola, saying its own decision was taken to protect “the well-being of Nigerians”.

The case highlights the challenge of containing Ebola, with weak checking systems and a lack of public understanding about the dangers of travelling once symptoms emerge.

There is no cure to the disease, which can have a fatality rate of up to 90 per cent, and because it is passed on through bodily fluids it poses a particular risk to health workers.

Video: Ebola is incurable and kills in 90% of cases

Ms Writebol tested positive after working as a hygienist decontaminating those entering and leaving the hospital’s Ebola care centre, the US aid group Samaritan’s Purse said.

Dr Brantly, 33, was the medical director of the centre when he fell ill. He was described as being in a stable but very serious condition, according to Samaritan’s Purse’s Ken Isaacs, who added: “It's been a shock to everyone on our team to have two of our players get pounded with the disease.”

On Saturday Dr Samuel Brisbane, one of Liberia’s most prominent health officials treating Ebola patients at the country's largest hospital, died after contracting the disease.

A Ugandan doctor working in Liberia also died earlier this month, while last week the virus infected Sheikh Umar Khan, Sierra Leone’s chief Ebola doctor

Tolbert Nyenswah, a Liberian health minister, said the situation “is getting more and more scary”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones