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Increase in Ebola cases a 'cause for concern'

The increase in cases of Ebola in west Africa is a "cause for concern", but the risk to travellers remains "very low", Public Health England (PHE) said.

Around 779 cases have been reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, killing an estimated 481 people in the largest ever known outbreak of the disease.

Health workers take blood samples for Ebola virus testing in the local government hospital in Sierra Leone. Credit: Reuters

PHE confirmed it has sent a number of laboratory and health staff to the region in a bid to bring it under control.

"The increase in cases and expansion into new areas are cause for concern, as this indicates that the outbreak is not yet under control," Dr Dilys Morgan, head of gastrointestinal, emerging and zoonotic diseases at PHE, said.

"The risk to travellers and people working in these countries of contracting Ebola is very low, but we have alerted medical practitioners about the situation in West Africa and requested they remain vigilant for unexplained illness in those who have visited the affected areas."

Ebola death toll rises in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

The death toll from Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has risen to 467.
The death toll from Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has risen to 467. Credit: Reuters

The death toll from the Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has risen to 467, out of 759 cases, according to the World Health Organization.

The figures include confirmed, probable and suspected cases.

A previous WHO update put the death toll at 399 as of June 23, out of 635 cases.

Read: West Africa warned to prepare for spread of Ebola virus

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West Africa warned to prepare for spread of Ebola virus

Colourised transmission electron micrograph reveals some of the morphology displayed by an Ebola virus.
Colourised transmission electron micrograph reveals some of the morphology displayed by an Ebola virus. Credit: PA

The World Health Organisation has warned West Africa to prepare for the possibility of the deadly Ebola virus spreading to Mali, the Ivory Coast and Senegal.

"We want other countries in West Africa to be ready - bordering countries, Ivory Coast, Mali, Guinea Bissau - to prepare themselves in case people affected with the disease may be also travelling," WHO medical officer Dr. Pierre Formenty said in Geneva today.

The WHO is not considering the recommendation of travel or trade restrictions on the three countries already affected by the epidemic - Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

British firm evacuates workers after Ebola outbreak

A British mining company has evacuated a number of "non-essential" workers from Sierra Leone following an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the west African country.

Colourised transmission electron micrograph of Ebola virus.
Colourised transmission electron micrograph reveals some of the morphology displayed by an Ebola virus. Credit: Press Association Images/Frederick Murphy

London Mining said it imposed travel restrictions in the region around its Marampa mine and was closely monitoring the situation with health chiefs and international agencies.

"London Mining notes recent reports suggesting that an increased number of incidents of Ebola Fever have been found. Following consultation with relevant authorities, the company has imposed restrictions on travel [and] a number of non-essential personnel have left the country," the company said.

The iron ore mining company said production at its mine was not affected.

Officials in the country say there have been two deaths from Ebola and a dozen other cases of the deadly and highly contagious disease, following an outbreak in neighbouring Guinea that also led to cases in Liberia earlier this year.

UK hospitals on 'alert' after Ebola outbreak in Africa

The Health Protection Agency has told ITV News hospitals in the UK have been put on "alert" after an outbreak of the Ebola virus killed at least 78 people in Guinea, West Africa. But the HPA said it was "extremely unlikely" it would reach Britain.

ITV News' Science and Medical Editor Lawrence McGinty reports:

Read: How to spot signs and symptoms of deadly Ebola virus

Read: UK hospitals 'on alert' after deadly Ebola outbreak in Guinea

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