Team of UK health experts on standby to tackle global disease outbreaks

A specialist UK team of health experts has been set up to respond to global disease outbreaks within 48 hours.

The team is being set up in response to the Ebola outbreak, which highlighted the urgent need for countries to establish teams to stop the spread of diseases, the Department of Health said.

The fully operational specialist team of medics, scientists and academics will be on standby from Tuesday.

The team will be able to respond to urgent requests from countries around the world, flying in to help tackle outbreaks of potentially deadly disease.

The Government is supporting the plan with £20 million over the next five years.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England (PHE), which will run the project with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "Speed is key in tackling infectious disease, and with this new capability we can now deploy specialists anywhere in the world within 48 hours, saving and protecting lives where an outbreak starts and helping to keep the UK safe at home."

It will also work in developing countries, training people on the ground, including in how to prevent the spread of infection.