Liberia women sing after praying for help with the Ebola virus, in the city of Monrovia, Liberia. Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Liberia faced an excruciating choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove either life-saving or life-threatening. ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

Liberia Gets ZMapp

Liberia Gets ZMapp

Liberia women sing after praying for help with the Ebola virus, in the city of Monrovia, Liberia. Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Liberia faced an excruciating choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove either life-saving or life-threatening. ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

Liberia women sing after praying for help with the Ebola virus, in the city of Monrovia, Liberia. Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Liberia faced an excruciating choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove either life-saving or life-threatening. ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

Liberia women sing after praying for help with the Ebola virus, in the city of Monrovia, Liberia. Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Liberia faced an excruciating choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove either life-saving or life-threatening. ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

Liberian officials faced a difficult choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove life-saving, ineffective or even harmful.

ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. A day later, no one had yet received the treatment, which officials said would go to three people.

The government had previously said two doctors would receive the treatment, but it was unclear who else would. Information Minister Lewis Brown said Thursday it would probably be another health care worker. These are the last known doses of ZMapp left. The San Diego-based company that developed it has said it will take months to build up even a modest supply.

The Ebola outbreak was first identified in March in Guinea. It has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, killing more than 1,060 of the 1,975 people sickened, according to the World Health Organization. There is no licensed treatment for Ebola, a virus transmitted by contact with bodily fluids like blood, sweat, urine, diarrhea and vomit.

The outbreak has overwhelmed the already strained health systems in West Africa and raised questions about whether authorities are doing enough to respond.

Police in riot gear dispersed an angry crowd Thursday in the Liberian capital of Monrovia who blocked city buses to protest delays in clearing away the infectious body of an Ebola victim.

President Barack Obama spoke by phone Thursday about the Ebola outbreak with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and in another call with President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone. The White House said Obama expressed his condolences for the hundreds who have died in both countries and underscored the U.S.’s commitment to work with West African nations and U.N. agencies to contain the outbreak. […]

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Date: August 14, 2014

Source: Associated Press – Jonathan Paye-Layleh and Sarah DiLorenzo

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