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Ebola claims third victim in Nigeria

The man (36) was travelling with Patrick Sawyer, the man who brought Ebola to Nigeria last month.

FILE: An agent of the national public health institute poses with a thermometer at the airport in Abidjan on 12 August, 2014. Picture: AFP.

ABUJA - A member of the West African regional body Ecowas has become the third person in Nigeria to die of Ebola fever, Ecowas said on Wednesday.

Jatto Asihu Abdulqudir (36) a protocol assistant, was travelling to an Ecowas function with Liberian Patrick Sawyer, the man who brought Ebola to Nigeria last month.

Abdulqudir had been under quarantine. The country has reported eight cases of Ebola since Sawyer arrived on 20 July.

"The Commission wishes to reassure staff of all Community institutions all over the entire region that it is taking all necessary steps to guarantee their health and safety," Ecowas said in a statement.

The Ebola outbreak is the world's largest and deadliest and the World Health Organisation (WHO) last week declared it an international health emergency. So far, more than 1,000 people have died - the vast majority in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

GERMANY URGES CITIZENS TO LEAVE WEST AFRICA

Germany has urged its nationals to leave Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone due to concern over the Ebola virus, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

"The government's crisis management group met this morning to discuss West Africa and the Ebola virus. It decided to request all German citizens in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to leave," he said.

The request did not apply to medical workers or German diplomatic staff and embassies will remain open, he added.

CANADA TO DONATE EBOLA VACCINE

Canada will donate a small quantity of an experimental Ebola vaccine developed in its government lab to the WHO for use in Africa, the country's health minister said on Tuesday.

The decision to donate the vaccine came after the WHO said on Tuesday that it was ethical to offer untested drugs to people infected by the virus.

The Canadian government will donate between 800 to 1,000 doses of the vaccine, with the final number given dependent on how much Canada holds back for research and clinical trials. The government will also keep a small supply in case it is needed domestically.

Health Minister Rona Ambrose said she offered the vaccine to Dr Margaret Chan, director general of the WHO.

The US is also working on a vaccine and the WHO and governments involved were discussing possible use in Africa, Dr Greg Taylor, deputy chief public health officer of the Public Health Agency of Canada told Reuters in an interview ahead of the Canadian announcement.

Canada only has about 1,500 animal doses of the vaccine, which it invented a few years ago, and would need four to six months to make a large quantity, he said.

The government's vaccine is separate from the treatment being developed by Canada's Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp.

The Canadian vaccine, which the agency licensed for commercialisation to US firm BioProtection Systems, a unit of Newlink Genetics, has proven effective in animals but has never been tested in humans, Taylor said.

Last week, Iowa-based NewLink said that BioProtection had a contract with the US Department of Defence for studies to bring the Canadian Ebola vaccine closer to human testing.

The first doses in Africa would likely be available to health care workers, Taylor said.

The Public Health Agency of Canada was also involved in the development of ZMapp, an experimental Ebola treatment licensed by US firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical that has been used to treat two infected American aid workers. Liberia said on Tuesday it will get Mapp's drug to treat two doctors.