NEW YORK - Doctors, nurses and others fighting Ebola through "tireless acts of courage and mercy" have been named Time's 2014 Person of the Year, the magazine announced Wednesday.

The runners-up included Ferguson, Mo., protesters; Russian President Vladimir Putin; Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani; and Jack Ma, the China-based founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Time's editor, Nancy Gibbs, praised "the people in the field, the special forces of Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the Christian medical-relief workers of Samaritan's Purse, and many others from all over the world" who "fought side by side with local doctors and nurses, ambulance drivers and burial teams."

Gibbs noted that the disease has struck doctors and nurses.

"The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight," she wrote. They were cited "for tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving."

Antoine Petibon, head of international programs for the French Red Cross, which has been active in Guinea's anti-Ebola efforts, called it "great recognition for all these people who have been toiling in the shadows."

The disease has taken its toll in myriad ways.

In September, a team trying to inform villagers about Ebola in the forests of southern Guinea was attacked by a mob. The bodies of eight people - two local administrators, two medical officers, a preacher and three journalists - were found stuffed in a latrine.

Less than a month after arriving in Guinea, Cuban doctor Jorge Juan Guerra Rodriguez died of malaria.