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Britons warned against travelling to Ebola-hit countries

British people have been warned against travelling to countries affected by the outbreak of Ebola unless absolutely necessary.

As air companies including British Airways suspend flights to parts of West Africa, the Foreign Office said people should avoid going to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia unless they are involved in the response to the epidemic.

Officials warned increasing restrictions on travel may mean people who do visit the countries could find it difficult to leave.

Human trials of Ebola vaccine to take place in Oxford

The first human trials of a potential Ebola vaccine could begin in the Oxford as early as mid-September.

The candidate vaccine has been being developed by the US National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline. Funding from a consortium of British bodies has allowed the UK trials to be fast-tracked.

Medicins Sans Frontieres health workers at an Ebola treatment camp in Monrovia, Liberia
Medicins Sans Frontieres health workers at an Ebola treatment camp in Monrovia, Liberia Credit: REUTERS/2Tango

Professor Adrian Hill, who will be running the trials at Oxford University, said he was looking for 60 healthy individuals aged 18 to 50 to take part in the study. Volunteers will have to make nine visits over six months and will receive modest compensation for their time.

Unlike with vaccines for some other illnesses, it does not contain any infectious virus material, so it "cannot cause a person who is vaccinated to become infected with Ebola," GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement.

Manufacturers are planning to produce around 10,000 doses of the potential vaccine that will be distributed to "high-risk communities" if the trials prove successful. Other trials are being planned in the US, Gambia and Mali.


IMF: Ebola having 'acute' financial impact on West Africa

The Ebola outbreak is likely to lead to "sharply" lower growth in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and all three of the poor West African countries may need support in future, a spokesman for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said today.

Relatives stand in line at a checkpoint outside the Ebola quarantine area of West Point in Monrovia, Liberia
Relatives stand in line at a checkpoint outside the Ebola quarantine area of West Point in Monrovia, Liberia Credit: REUTERS/2Tango

The Ebola outbreak is having an acute macroeconomic and social impact on three already fragile countries in West Africa. We are actively working with all three countries to prepare a preliminary economic assessment of the impact of the Ebola crisis, and additional financing support that may be required.

– Gerry Rice, spokesman, IMF

Up to 10,000 Ebola vaccines to be made during trials

Up to 10,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine will be produced at the same time that clinical trials of the drug are taking place so they can be ready for emergency deployment if it proves effective.

GlaxoSmithKline said Phase I trials would start on the vaccine they are co-developing with the US National Institutes of Health, as soon as they received ethical and regulatory approvals.

It is expected to be given to healthy volunteers in Britain and the United States to determine whether the vaccine is safe and if it provokes a protective immune response, from about mid-September.

The tests, which they aim to complete by the end of 2014, will then be extended to Gambia and Mali, after which vaccines could be deployed on an emergency basis.

GSK also plans to begin making up to about 10,000 additional doses of its vaccine at the same time as the initial clinical trials, so if they are successful vaccine could be made available immediately for an emergency immunization program.

WHO: Over 20,000 could be infected with Ebola

More than 20,000 people could be infected by the current outbreak of the Ebola virus, the World Health Organisation said.

Health workers at an isolation camp in Guinea's Monrovia.
Health workers at an isolation camp in Guinea's Monrovia. Credit: Reuters

They said the actual number of cases in four West African nations could already be two to four times higher than the reported 3,069, as they issued a strategic plan to combat the outbreak.

They said: "The actual number of cases may be 2-4 fold higher than that currently reported."

They added that their road map "acknowledges that the aggregate case load of Ebola Virus Disease could exceed 20,000 over the course of this emergency."

They said: "Response activities must be adapted in areas of very intense transmission and particular attention must be given to stopping transmission in capital cities and major ports, thereby facilitating the larger response and relief effort."


Woman who butchered animal 'first Ebola case'

A pregnant woman who butchered a bush animal that had been killed and given to her by her husband was the first case of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In a statement they said the woman from the Ikanamongo Village had become ill with symptoms of the disease, but although she reported to a private clinic, it was not identified. She died on August 11.


The #Ebola index case in #DRC was a pregnant woman who butchered a bush animal killed & given to her by her husband

They added: "Local customs and rituals associated with death meant that several health-care workers were exposed and presented with similar symptoms in the following week."

Between 28 July and 18 August 2014, a total of 24 suspected cases of haemorrhagic fever, including 13 deaths, have been identified near the clinic, they said.

Health-care personnel including one doctor and two nurses, a hygienist and a ward boy who were exposed to the woman had all died, they added.

They said: "Other deaths have been recorded among the relatives who attended the index case, individuals who were in contact with the clinic staff, and those who handled the bodies of the deceased during funerals. The other 11 cases are currently being treated in isolation centres."

Dead doctor caught Ebola from man 'who evaded care'

A doctor has died from the Ebola virus in Nigeria after contracting it from a man who evaded authorities trying to monitor the disease, according to the country's health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu.

The man who infected the medic contracted the virus after coming into contact with Nigeria's first case, the Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer.

However, the country's health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu told reporters he had evaded surveillance and gone on to infect the doctor who was working in the oil industry hub, Port Harcourt.

Chukwu said the man had recovered from the disease, but the doctor had died. The wife of the doctor is also now being quarantined after she developed symptoms of the deadly disease.

The death was the first in Nigeria outside Lagos, the country's commercial capital.

British Ebola victim may have caught it from baby boy

Britain's first Ebola victim may have caught the deadly virus by playing with a one-year-old boy whose mother had died, a medical colleague said.

William Pooley may have contracted the Ebola from a one-year-old boy.
William Pooley may have contracted the Ebola from a one-year-old boy. Credit: ITV News

William Pooley's supervisor Josephine Sellu said he had developed a bond with an orphaned baby boy named Sellu Borbor.

She said: "Pooley and some other nurses fell in love with the boy and would play with him in their free time."

She added that like other health workers, Pooley initially took precautions when handling the infant after his mother had died from the virus.

But after the boy he tested negative for the disease, Pooley had later played freely with him.

However, the youngster later tested positive for the virus, which he is thought to have caught from his mother's breast milk.

He died on August 24, the same day Pooley was diagnosed with the disease.

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