UK & World News

  • 4 August 2014, 22:06

Setback In Ebola Battle As Death Toll Rises

Efforts to stop the spread of ebola in the deadliest ever outbreak have suffered a setback after Nigeria confirmed a second case.

It comes as the number of people who have lost their lives has now risen to 887 in West Africa, according to the World Health Organisation.

This is an increase of 158 since the last figures were released on July 31.

A doctor who treated Patrick Sawyer who died of the virus after flying to the capital Lagos from Liberia last month has now contracted the disease.

Seventy people who were believed to have come into contact with American-Liberian man Mr Sawyer were being monitored, an official said.

Eight of them were in quarantine, including three who showed symptoms of ebola.

The second confirmed case raises serious questions about how officials there are trying to control the infection.

Hundreds of people have lost their lives in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as international financial institutions, including the World Bank, prepare funding packages on tens of millions of pounds for the countries.

The funding is part of a $100m (60m) emergency response plan launched by the World Health Organisation last week.

African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka said his institution would immediately give $50m (30m) to the three nations where government resources and health systems are being stretched.

In Liberia, the government has ordered that all victims must be cremated instead of buried, in an attempt to suppress the disease.

Some communities had tried to stop health authorities burying bodies.

Hundreds of troops have been deployed there as well as Sierra Leone after panicked residents attacked health workers and threatened to burn down isolation wards.

Authorities have closed schools and quarantined areas hardest hit by the disease.

So far, there have been 358 deaths in Guinea, 255 in Liberia and 273 in Sierra Leone.

Ebola - which has a mortality rate of 60-90% - cannot spread through airborne or waterborne methods, say experts.

It is transmitted primarily through contact with bodily fluids such as saliva, blood, urine and other secretions.

Meanwhile, a second American suffering from the virus is due to be flown to the US on Tuesday.

Nancy Writebol will be treated at the same Atlanta, Georgia, medical facility where her fellow medical missionary, Dr Kent Brantly, was admitted on Saturday.