Doctor With Major Evangelical Christian Relief Organization Tests Positive for Deadly Virus While Treating Victims of It

BOONE, N.C. (TheBlaze/AP) — A major evangelical Christian relief organization said that an American doctor working with Ebola patients in Liberia has tested positive for the deadly virus.

North Carolina-based Samaritan’s Purse issued a news release Saturday saying that Dr. Kent Brantly tested positive for the disease and was being treated at a hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. Brantly had been serving as medical director for Samaritan’s Purse’s case management center in the city.

A picture taken on June 28, 2014 shows a member of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) putting on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated. (Image source: AFP/Cellou Binani/Getty Images)

Brantly’s wife and children had been living with him in Africa, but they are currently in the U.S., according to Samaritan’s Purse spokeswoman Melissa Strickland.

She added that Brantly began serving in Africa as part of a post-residency program before the Ebola outbreak began earlier this year. The deadly disease has already killed 672 in several countries since that time.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever was first identified in Africa in the 1970s, according to the World Health Organization. The virus spreads though direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person or animal.

Early symptoms of the virus include arthritis, chills, diarrhea, fever, headache and nausea, according to the National Institutes of Health. As the virus develops in the infected individual, they will later experience bleeding from the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and rectum, in addition to a rash and other symptoms.

Ebola outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90 percent, according to the WHO.