WHO: Ebola deep-rooted in worst affected countries

The warning comes as more countries will be screening people from areas struck by Ebola.

Liberian nurses carry the body of a suspected victim of Ebola at the Sonuwein community in Monrovia, Liberia, 3 October 2014. Picture: EPA/Ahmed Jallanzo.

LONDON - The World Health Organisation (WHO) is warning that Ebola is now entrenched in the capital cities of all three of the worst-affected countries in West Africa.

It says the virus is accelerating in all these settings and the situation is worse than it was 12 days ago.

The warning comes as more countries will now be screening people arriving from areas struck by Ebola.

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has killed 3,879 people out of 8,033 cases by the end of 5 October with no evidence that the epidemic was being brought under control in West Africa, the WHO said on Wednesday.

Liberia and Sierra Leone, the two worst-hit countries, still only had 21 percent and 26 percent of the bed spaces they needed, and neighbouring countries had been told to prepare for the disease to spread across their borders, the WHO said.

In the United Kingdom, passengers will be screened at the country's biggest airports and international train stations.

This follows the death of a British man in Macedonia who is thought to have contracted the virus.

The decision to screen passengers for the virus appeared to overturn an earlier announcement which suggested screening didn't work.

Now, British ministers are implementing what's being described as "enhanced screening" for the virus at Heathrow, Gatwick and Eurostar terminals.

The government says people will be asked questions and potentially given a medical assessment by trained medical staff rather than border officials.

Meanwhile, ministers have been playing down the possibility that the death of the 57-year-old British man died of the disease in Macedonia.

However, authorities in that country have closed the hotel where he was staying and placed the residents in quarantine.


Authorities in Zimbabwe have shut down a major hospital in the capital Harare after a patient was admitted with Ebola-like symptoms.

The woman has already tested positive for malaria but samples have been sent to South Africa for Ebola testing.

Health Minister David Parirenyatwa told state ZBC TV late Thursday that there is no Ebola in Zimbabwe and this incident will simply test the adequacy of the country's Ebola response systems.

The woman is reported to have arrived in Zimbabwe from the Democratic Republic of Congo three weeks ago.

She's one of around 700 people who have been monitored for Ebola symptoms in recent weeks and she fell ill on Wednesday.

ZBC reports that her symptoms include weakness and vomiting.