Lagos records 10th case of Ebola

There have been 1,825 cases of Ebola reported, with the mortality rate running at about 55-60 percent.

FILE: A picture taken on 24 July 2014 shows a staff member of the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse wearing protective gear to enter a treatment room in the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia. Picture: AFP.

ABUJA - Nigeria's Lagos has 10 confirmed cases of Ebola, up from seven at the last count, although only two so far have died, including the Liberian who brought the virus in, the health minister said on Monday.

All were people who had had primary contact with Patrick Sawyer, who collapsed on arrival at Lagos airport on 25 July and later died, Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu told a news conference.

An official with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday there have been 1,825 cases reported, with the mortality rate running at about 55 to 60 percent.

Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids including blood, urine, faeces and saliva of an infected person, or with objects such as needles that have been contaminated. Nearly 1,000 people in West Africa have now died in the outbreak of one of the deadliest known diseases.

With the disease now in four African countries - following the death in Nigeria last month of a US citizen who arrived from Liberia - the WHO on Friday classified the epidemic as an international health emergency.

The WHO has said that the world's worst outbreak of Ebola will likely continue for months as the region's healthcare systems struggle to cope. It has appealed urgently for funding and emergency medical staff.

A WHO medical ethics committee will discuss next week the use of experimental drugs to tackle the outbreak after two US aid workers showed improvement after being treated with ZMapp, a drug developed by California-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical.

Spain on Sunday authorised the use of the ZMapp on 75-year-old Spanish priest Miguel Pajares - the first European infected - who was evacuated to Madrid last week after contracting the haemorrhagic fever while working in a hospital in Monrovia. A Congolese nun who worked with him died there on Saturday.

British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline said on Sunday a clinical trial of a vaccine was due to start shortl y.

Three US laboratories established to quickly make vaccines in the event of a public health threat also said they were standing by to support any US effort to tackle Ebola.

MISSIONARIES TO BE QUARANTINED

Health officials in North Carolina said on Sunday they will require missionaries and others coming home after working with people infected with Ebola in Africa to be placed in quarantine as a precaution against the spread of the deadly viral disease.

The quarantine is set to last for three weeks from the last exposure to someone infected in the West African Ebola outbreak, which is centred in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the officials said.

Missionaries from the North Carolina-based Christian aid groups SIM USA and Samaritan's Purse have been working to help combat the world's worst outbreak of the disease. Two of the relief workers contracted the disease and were being cared for at Emory University in Georgia.

"This measure is being taken out of an abundance of caution, and it is important to remember that there are no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in North Carolina," Dr Stephen Keener, medical director in North Carolina's Mecklenburg County, said in a statement.

"Quarantine is a public health measure to protect the public that requires healthy people who were exposed to a disease to be prevented from contact with others until it is certain that they are not infected," Keener added.

The statement said the 21-day period is based on the longest duration of Ebola incubation - the delay between exposure and onset of illness. Officials said the average incubation period is eight to 10 days.

SIM USA said on Sunday some of its missionary staff based in Liberia will be returning to Charlotte, where the group is headquartered.