Shares in less popular US biotech and medical equipment companies have soared after it emerged that a nurse has been infected with the Ebola virus – the first such case in the country.

Shares in biotechnology company Ibio closed up 66.67%, while hazmat suits maker Lakeland Industries and face mask maker Alpha Pro Tech recorded gains of 47.22% and 35.26%, respectively.

Ebola drugmaker Tekmira Pharmaceuticals rose 3.9% on the day, after witnessing huge spikes earlier due to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The companies have also witnessed unusual trading volumes in line with investors' increased interest in firms that develop medicines or devices combating Ebola.

"The spider's web of companies that are beneficiaries of an Ebola outbreak are becoming visible to portfolio managers," Reuters quoted as saying Paul Weisbruch, vice-president of ETF and options sales and trading at Street One Financial.

"It's not like buying a vaccine that might work. There's something more tangible with someone who supplies hazmat suits."

On 12 October, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas was diagnosed with Ebola. The nurse had treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who was infected. Duncan died last week.

The airline sector, however, has been hit by the Ebola crisis, as fear-stricken travellers halted their plans.

The Thomson Reuters US Airline Index has declined 17% in the past 17 trading days. It lost 6% on 13 October, led by a 7.3% drop in United Continental Holding.