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What is the Ebola virus?

The Ebola virus is named after the Ebola River Valley in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire, where the first reported outbreak was reported in 1976.

Medecins Sans Frontieres describes Ebola as:

One of the world’s most deadly diseases. It is a highly infectious virus that can kill up to 90 percent of the people who catch it, causing terror among infected communities.

– MSF

Ebola spreads in the blood and shuts down the immune system at first, causing a high fever, headache and muscle pain.

The World Health Organisation categorises the Ebola virus as follows:

  • Outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
  • The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals, mainly bats, and spreads through human-to-human transmission.
  • No specific treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or animals.

Ebola is a 'regional threat' say West African ministers

West African foreign ministers have said that the Ebola outbreak is a "threat to regional security."

A number of countries have stepped up border and flight checks. Senegal have said it was imposing sanitary checks at borders "until further notice."

Donka Hospital, Conakry, where Ebola victims are being treated. Credit: REUTERS/Saliou Samb

In Conakry people remained calm but some executives at international mining companies voiced concern according to the Telegraph.

"We have asked our employees to avoid physical contact, especially in hospitals," said one executive with a mining firm.

People also avoided shaking hands, an important part of West African greetings.

Five deaths are currently being investigated in Liberia and one in Sierra Leone. At least 78 people in Guinea have known to have died so far.

The Morocco health ministry told MAP News they have put up precautionary measures "especially at Casablanca airport," a key transportation hub for north and west Africa.

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Bat eating blamed as Ebola spreads in Guinea

The western African country of Guinea has forbidden the sale and consumption of bats, rats and monkeys as the country fights the spread of Ebola which has claimed the lives of over 70 people so far.

“We discovered the vector agent of the Ebola virus is the bat,” said Remy Lamah, the country’s health minister, in an interview from the town of N’zerekore to Bloomberg News.

“People must even avoid consumption of rats and monkeys. They are very dangerous animals.” Communities eat bats in rural areas around the Ebola-stricken towns of Macenta, Gueckedou and Kissidougou.

Guinea facing 'unprecedented' Ebola outbreak

Guinea faces an Ebola epidemic on an "unprecedented scale" as it battles to contain confirmed cases scattered across several locations that are far apart, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres says.

“We are facing an epidemic of a magnitude never before seen in terms of the distribution of cases in the country” said Mariano Lugli, coordinator of MSF's project in Conakry.

Two MSF workers clean a box in a village in Gueckedou. Credit: Handout/MSF/Kjell Gunnar Beraas

Guinea's health ministry has reported 122 suspected cases, with at least 78 deaths linked to the virus. It has now spread to neighbouring Liberia, as well as Guinea's capital, Conakry, which has a population of two million people.

The below image shows the town of Gueckedou, with reports of an outbreak. The town has an estimated population of 405,000.

The area of Gueckedou in a Southern region of Guinea. Credit: Handout/OpenStreetMap

Ebola haemorrhagic fever is a rare but serious disease that spreads rapidly through direct contact with infected people or animals. It can be transmitted by blood and body fluids and is often fatal.

Guinea Ebola outbreak 'first of its kind' for 20 years

People walk in front of the entrance of the Donka Hospital, where victims of the ebola disease are being treated. Credit: Reuters

At least 78 people have died after contracting the Ebola virus in the west African nation of Guinea, according to health authorities.

Victims develop internal and external bleeding from the virus, which has no cure.

Neighbouring Senegal has closed its land border with Guinea to keep the virus from spreading further. Liberia has confirmed two cases, including one death.

The Ebola outbreak is the first of its kind in west Africa in two decades.

African immigrant found inside tiny suitcase

Shocking footage has emerged after a man tried to smuggle a 19-year-old African immigrant into Spanish territory.

The video released by Guardia Civil shows the young man, who is thought to come from Mali, appearing dazed as officers uncover him in the suitcase.

A 39-year-old Moroccan man was arrested after dropping the bag and fleeing when asked for a baggage check, officials said.

The incident occurred on the North African border of Morocco and the Spanish enclave Melilla.

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Hollande: 'Difficult for the current head of CAR to stay'

France's President Francois Hollande said it would be difficult for the current head of Central African Republic to stay in place because he let the crisis unfold.

French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee summit for peace and safety in Africa at the Elysee presidential palace, in Paris. Credit: Lemouton Stephane/ABACA/Press Association Images

"I don't want to point fingers but we cannot keep in place a president who was not able to do anything, or even worse, who let things happen," Mr Hollande said in an interview broadcast on the France 24 TV channel.

He said elections should be held before 2015 when the mandate of the interim president, Michel Djotodia, ends.

"The idea is to head as fast as possible towards elections," France's President Francois Hollande said.

'White Widow' Lewthwaite's desire for family life

Fugitive British terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite - the widow of one of the July 7 bombers - was making plans to open a juice and frozen yoghurt bar as she allegedly plotted to kill British tourists in Kenya, according to the Sunday Times (£).

An international hunt for British terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite is underway.

Business proposals by the 29-year-old Muslim convert, dubbed the 'White Widow', has been seen by the newspaper.

In handwritten notes, she reportedly compiled a list of necessities for the juice bar, including a fridge and freezer, two blenders, flyers and cocktail umbrellas.

Police found the writings at a villa in Mombasa, on the Kenyan coast, where Lewthwaite stayed before going on the run almost two years ago.

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