Global authorities on alert over Ebola outbreak

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
By Paul Martin

Kim Hjelmgaard and Doug Stanglin
USA TODAY
July 30, 2014

Health officials in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, fearing that the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa could go global, are quarantining airline passengers from the region who have shown symptoms of the disease.

The outbreak — the largest in history — has spread across Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone and killed at least 672 people, according to the World Health Organization. The disease has no vaccine and no specific treatment. It has a fatality rate of at least 60%.

In the United Kingdom, the Department of Health confirmed Wednesday that a man who flew into Birmingham airport recently from Nigeria via Paris was clear of the virus despite saying he felt feverish. The U.K. has never seen a case of Ebola.

Newly appointed British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond planned to chair an emergency meeting later Wednesday on how to stop the spread of the virus.

Two American missionaries working with Ebola patients in Liberia have been diagnosed with the virus.

Ken Isaacs, a vice president of Samaritan’s Purse, told The Associated Press that Dr. Kent Brantly — the 33-year-old medical director for the group’s Ebola care center on the outskirts of the Liberian capital of Monrovia — was stable and in very serious condition. “We are hopeful and prayerful,” Isaacs told AP by telephone from the group headquarters in Boone, North Carolina

The other infected American from the North Carolina-based missionary group, Nancy Writebol, had been disinfecting doctors and nurses working with Ebola patients when she was diagnosed with the virus

Bill Bailey, a family friend, told WCNC that Writebol’s condition changes “hour by hour.”

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