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8 suspected Ebola cases in Nigeria

Authorities have been monitoring anyone who came into close contact with Patrick Sawyer.

FILE: Members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) wear protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry on 23 July, 2014. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - Lagos has eight suspected cases of Ebola, all in people who came into contact with Nigeria's first victim who died last month, the health commissioner said on Tuesday, with one case confirmed.

The death toll has reached almost 900 in what's been described as the worst outbreak of the Ebola virus in human history.

Experts say the death rate in the current epidemic is about 60 percent.

Authorities have been monitoring anyone who came into close contact with Patrick Sawyer, a Liberia and US citizen who died of Ebola in Lagos last month shortly after arriving at the airport. The second confirmed case was a doctor who looked after him.

Health Commissioner Jide Idris also said a further six people who had made contact with Sawyer had been quarantined but were not showing symptoms.

SECOND EBOLA PATIENT ARRIVES IN US

A plane carrying a second American aid worker infected with Ebola from West Africa arrived in Maine to refuel on Tuesday and was due to continue to Atlanta so the woman can receive further treatment for the deadly virus.

Missionary Nancy Writebol (59) departed from Liberia on Monday in a medical aircraft.

She was aboard a plane that landed at Bangor International Airport in Maine just after 8am EST on Tuesday, television station WCSH of Portland, Maine, reported.

The station carried live coverage of the plane stopping to refuel at the airport.

Writebol's arrival came a day after Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City said it was testing a man who travelled to a West African nation where Ebola has been reported. He arrived at the emergency room on Monday with a high fever and a stomach ache, but was in good condition, hospital officials said.

The New York City Health Department, after consulting with the hospital and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement on Monday evening that "the patient is unlikely to have Ebola. Specimens are being tested for common causes of illness and to definitively exclude Ebola."

Writebol will be treated by infectious disease specialists in a special isolation ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, according to Christian missionary group SIM USA.

The mother of two from Charlotte, North Carolina, is a longtime missionary who had been working for SIM USA as a hygienist who decontaminated protective suits worn by healthcare workers inside an isolation unit at a Monrovia treatment center.

Emory's specialists have since Saturday been treating 33-year-old US doctor Kent Brantly, who also returned home after being stricken with Ebola during the emergency response to the worst outbreak on record of the virus.

Writebol and Brantly, believed to be the first Ebola patients ever treated in the United States, served on a joint team in Monrovia run by Christian aid groups SIM USA and Samaritan's Purse. They returned separately because the plane equipped to transport them could carry only one patient at a time.

The pair both saw their conditions improve by varying degrees in Liberia after they received an experimental drug previously tested only on monkeys, a representative for Samaritan's Purse said.

SAUDI ARABIA TESTS SUSPECTED EBOLA CASE

Saudi Arabia is testing a man for suspected Ebola infection after he returned recently from a business trip to Sierra Leone, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

It said the man, a Saudi in his 40s, was at a hospital in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after showing symptoms of viral hemorrhagic fever, which resemble symptoms of the Ebola virus.

The ministry said it had taken precautionary measures, including isolating the patient at a specialist hospital and had sent blood samples to an international laboratory in coordination with the World Health Organisation (WHO) for further checks.

Saudi Arabia has been on alert against the spread of the virus from west Africa, where more than 800 people have died, suspending issuance of visas from several countries for the annual haj pilgrimage or for other visits to Muslim holy places.

WHO chief Margaret Chan said last week that an outbreak of the virus in West Africa was out of control but can be stopped with more resources and tougher measures. The outbreak is the worst since the disease was discovered in the mid-1970s.