MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — The largest recorded Ebola outbreak in history has led the U.S. Peace Corps to evacuate hundreds of volunteers from three affected West African countries, and a State Department official on Wednesday said two volunteers were under isolation after having contact with a person who later died of the virus.
Meanwhile, Liberia’s president ordered the nation’s schools to shut down and most civil servants to stay home as fears deepened over the virus that already has killed more than 670 people in West Africa.
The Peace Corps said it was evacuating 340 volunteers from Liberia as well as neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone.
The State Department official said the two volunteers were not symptomatic and were under observation. The official was not authorized to discuss the cases for attribution, and declined to say where the volunteers were serving or when they were exposed.
Ebola has no vaccine and no specific treatment, with a fatality rate of at least 60 percent.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is skipping a summit of African leaders in Washington this week amid the crisis, also called for the closure of markets in an area near the borders with infected countries Guinea and Sierra Leone.
“My fellow Liberians, Ebola is real, Ebola is contagious and Ebola kills,” she warned. “Denying that the disease exists is not doing your part, so keep yourselves and your loved ones safe.”