Ebola Virus Outbreak: American Doctor Kent Brantly Contracts Disease

The Ebola virus outbreak ravaging eastern Africa has struck American doctor Kent Brantly, who worked with a Christian aid organization in a high-risk position treating victims of the disease.

On Saturday, the North Carolina based organization Samaritan’s Purse released a statement saying that Dr. Brantly was being treated at an isolation center in the Liberian capital of Monrovia. Brantly had been working at the non-profit group’s case management center in Monrovia, where he maintained an isolation ward for patients.

Brantly knew that his work put him at a high risk of contract the Ebola virus. In a statement posted on the Samaritan’s Purse website earlier this year, he noted that health care workers were often left infected by the deadly disease.

“The hospital is taking great effort to be prepared,” Brantly said. “In past Ebola outbreaks, many of the casualties have been healthcare workers who contracted the disease through their work caring for infected individuals.”

The 33-year-old Kent Brantly had been stationed in Liberia since October 2013, and before that worked as a family doctor in Fort Worth, Texas.

Robert Earley, president and CEO of the JPS Health Network in Fort Worth, said staff is taking the news of their colleague’s Ebola virus hard. He added that Kent Brantly was always put others before himself.

“One: We’re stunned. Two: It’s painful. But this is the kind of individual that he is,” Earley told WFAA. “They go into the worst situations in the world and try to save lives.”

Brantly worked in a region of Africa struck hard by the Ebola virus outbreak, which had become the worse of all time. Since first being detected in February, the outbreak has killed at least 632 people across Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone since February.

Kent Brantly is not the only doctor to contract the Ebola virus. Earlier this week Liberia’s top Ebola doctor, 39-year-old Sheik Umar Khan, contracted the disease and was transferred to a treatment ward run by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders.

The nation’s health ministry called Khan a “national hero” for his efforts to fight the outbreak.

There is no cure for the Ebola virus, which spreads quickly and strikes victims violently. The disease can kill up to 90 percent of those affected, though the current outbreak has a mortality rate of 60 percent.

Kent Brantly had a wife and two children stationed with him in Africa, though they are currently back in the United States. Samaritan’s Purse released a statement asking for prayers as he fights the Ebola virus.