U.S. Peace Corps withdrawing volunteers due to Ebola virus
An electron micrograph image of an Ebola virus virion (AFP)

The U.S. Peace Corps said on Wednesday it was pulling 340 volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea because of the spreading Ebola virus that has killed 672 people in the three countries since February.

It is the worst outbreak on record of the deadly virus, according to the World Health Organization.

"The Peace Corps today announced that it is temporarily removing its volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea due to the increasing spread of the Ebola virus," the group said in a statement.

The Peace Corps currently has 102 volunteers in Guinea, 108 in Liberia and 130 in Sierra Leone working in the areas of education, health and agriculture.

The State Department has confirmed that one U.S. citizen died from Ebola in Nigeria after being infected in Liberia. Two other American aid workers infected with Ebola - Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol - are in serious condition, but have shown slight improvement.

They were part of a team in Liberia from North Carolina-based Christian relief groups Samaritan's Purse and SIM.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney)