Liberia president orders new anti-Ebola measures as virus claims senior doctor

World Today

A health worker with disinfectant spray walks down a street outside the government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone on July 10, 2014. (REUTERS/Tommy Trenchard)

Liberia’s president has closed all but three land border crossings, restricted public gatherings and quarantined communities heavily affected by the Ebola outbreak in the West African nation.

Samuel Brisbane, a senior Liberian doctor who was treating infected patients, died after contracting the virus, authorities said on Sunday.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described the quarantine measures late Sunday after the first meeting of a new task force she created to contain the disease.

More than 129 people in the country have died from the virus, with more than 670 killed across the region.

Two American aid workers have fallen ill, underscoring the dangers facing those charged with bringing the outbreak under control. Last week a Liberian official flew to Nigeria via Lome, Togo and died of the disease at a Lagos hospital. The fact that the official, Patrick Sawyer, was able to board an international flight despite being ill raised fears that the disease could spread beyond the three countries already affected: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

There is no known cure for Ebola, which begins with symptoms including fever and sore throat and escalates to vomiting, diarrhea and internal bleeding. The disease spreads through direct contact with blood and other bodily fluids as well as indirect contact with “environments contaminated with such fluids,” according to the World Health Organization.

Report compiled with information from Reuters and The Associated Press.