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Ebola: 60 health workers dead

The World Health Organisation suspects there may have been up to 1,300 cases.

A picture taken on 24 July 2014 shows staff of the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse putting on protective gear in the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The World Health Organisation says more than 60 health workers have died from the Ebola virus.

The organisation and medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the outbreak, which has killed 729 people in four West African countries, was out of control and more resources were urgently needed to deal with it.

The first of two American Ebola patients are expected to land in the US today.

Both patients will be treated in a hospital in Atlantis with a specifically constructed isolation unit designed to treat patients with serious infectious diseases.

The pair contracted Ebola while working in West Africa.

World Health Organisation spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic says, "we have seen so far that more than 100 health workers have been infected since the beginning of the outbreak. 60 of them died.

"This really shows how important it is that we train health workers, that we equip them properly."

A new global response plan - worth over R1 billion - is being rolled out in West Africa to try and stop the spread of the virus.

The plan identifies the need for "several hundred more personnel" to be deployed in affected countries to ease the strain on overstretched treatment facilities, the WHO said.

Clinical doctors and nurses, epidemiologists, and logisticians are urgently needed, it said in an appeal to donor countries.

' SA SHOULD NOT PANIC'

South Africa's Health Department remains confident there will be no outbreak in the country.

The department's Joe Maila says a ll ports of entry are on high alert and people entering the country are being screened.

He adds that facilities are in place to deal with possible threats, but for now there's not a single suspected case.