Shares Soar for US Hazmat Gear Makers Amid Ebola Fears

A hazmat worker treats the sidewalk in front of an apartment where a health care worker diagnosed with the Ebola virus resides on October 12 in Dallas. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)

Shares Soar for US Hazmat Gear Makers Amid Ebola Fears

Shares of two US manufacturers of hazardous materials gear soared Monday a day after news of the first case of infection by the Ebola virus inside the United States.

NEW YORK — Shares of two US manufacturers of hazardous materials gear soared Monday a day after news of the first case of infection by the Ebola virus inside the United States.

Alpha Pro Tech, which makes gloves, masks and other types of protective clothing, saw its shares trading 10.8% higher at $8.23 in early-afternoon trade.

They had been worth little more than $3 on October 6 but have steadily climbed, hitting a record high of $9.25 earlier Monday.

Lakeland Industries, the maker of so-called "hazmat" suits among other health-protection products, rose 9.9% to $21.58; in earlier trade it had reached $24.25, the highest level in a year.

On Sunday, Lakeland announced that it was stepping up production of its protective apparel for use in handling the Ebola virus for global availability.

"In response to the increasing demand for specialty protective suits to be worn by healthcare workers and others being exposed to Ebola, Lakeland is increasing its manufacturing capacity for these garments and includes proprietary processes for specialized seam sealing, a far superior technology for protecting against viral hazards than non-sealed products," Lakeland said in a statement.

Lakeland also said the US State Department had ordered 160,000 of those suits.

US authorities confirmed Sunday that there was a second case of Ebola in the country.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas announced that one of its staff members had contracted Ebola, marking the first case of infection inside the United States.

The woman had been caring for Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola on Wednesday and was the first person diagnosed with Ebola outside Africa.

Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people in West Africa -- most of them in hardest-hit Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia -- since the start of the year. The highly contagious virus is spread through contact with the bodily fluids of infected persons and the epidemic appears to be outpacing efforts to fight it.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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