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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:18 pm 
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WHO has closed one of its posts in Sierra Leone due to Ebola infection.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:19 pm 
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WHO working to ensure health workers are protected in Sierra Leone post



The World Health Organization (WHO) has temporarily pulled back its health workers from the Kailahun post in Sierra Leone to the capital after the announcement over the weekend that one of their health workers was infected.

“This was the responsible thing to do. The field team has been through a traumatic time through this incident,” says Dr Daniel Kertesz, WHO Representative in Sierra Leone. “They are exhausted from many weeks of heroic work, helping patients infected with Ebola. When you add a stressor like this, the risk of accidents increases.”

Today the Organization sent a team to the town near the border with Guinea to do a review of the incident on the colleague who became infected. The team will try to determine how the health worker became infected, review the living and working environment of all the workers, try to identify factors that increase risk of infection, and address these issues.

“We recognize that this will interrupt the work in the field for the short term, but it ensures we protect health workers and the help the community over the longer term,” says Dr Kertesz. “We are working rapidly to ensure we can return to the field as quickly as possible.”

Once the investigation has been completed and appropriate actions have been taken, WHO will move a team back to Kailahun. In the meantime, the laboratory work will be performed at the facilities in Kenema. The next team of health workers for the Kailahun deployment is waiting on standby in Freetown.


Media contact:
Christy Feig (in Sierra Leone): +41.79.251.7055

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:34 pm 
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WHO Pulls Staff After Worker Infected With Ebola in Sierra Leone

Reuters

Last updated on: August 26, 2014 1:05 PM


FREETOWN/KINSHASA—
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday it had shut a laboratory in Sierra Leone after a health worker there was infected with Ebola, a move that may hamper efforts to boost the global response to the worst ever outbreak of the disease.
At least 1,427 people have died and 2,615 have been infected since the disease was detected deep in the forests of southeastern Guinea in March. A separate outbreak was confirmed in Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday.

The WHO has deployed nearly 400 of its own staff and partner organizations to fight the epidemic of the highly contagious hemorrhagic fever, which has struck Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.

Nigeria's health minister said on Tuesday his country had “thus far contained” the Ebola outbreak, with only one of 13 confirmed cases being treated in isolation.

The WHO said it had withdrawn staff from the laboratory testing for Ebola at Kailahun -- one of only two in Sierra Leone -- after a Senegalese epidemiologist was infected with Ebola.

“It's a temporary measure to take care of the welfare of our remaining workers,” WHO spokesperson Christy Feig said, without specifying how long the measure would last. “After our assessment, they will return.”

Feig said she could not assess what impact the withdrawal of WHO staff would have on the fight against Ebola in the Kailahun, the area hardest hit by the disease.

One of the deadliest disease known to man, Ebola is transmitted by contact with body fluids and the current outbreak has killed at least 120 healthcare workers.

The Senegalese medic -- the first worker deployed by WHO to be infected -- will be evacuated from Sierra Leone in the coming days, Feig said. He is currently being treated at a government hospital in the eastern town of Kenema.

Congo outbreak

With its resources stretched by the West African outbreak, medical charity Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Tuesday it could provide only limited help to tackle Congo's outbreak.

A report from the U.N. mission in Congo on Tuesday said 13 people there had died from Ebola, including five health workers.

Congo said on Sunday it would quarantine the area around the town of Djera, in the isolated northwestern jungle province of Equateur, where a high number of suspected cases has been reported. It is Congo's seventh outbreak since Ebola was discovered in 1976 in Equateur, near the Ebola river.

“Usually, we would be able to mobilize specialist hemorrhagic fever teams, but we are currently responding to a massive epidemic in West Africa,” said Jeroen Beijnberger, MSF medical coordinator in Congo. “This is limiting our capacity to respond to the epidemic in Equateur Province.”

However, the charity said it would send doctors, nurses and logistics experts to the region and would work with the government to open an Ebola case management center in Lokolia.

Congo's Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi said on Sunday the outbreak in Equateur was a different strain of the virus from the deadly Zaire version in West Africa.

The WHO plans to send protective equipment for medical staff in Equateur.

Sierra Leone and Liberia -- struggling to recover from a decade of civil war in the 1990s -- have seen their healthcare systems overwhelmed by Ebola, the first outbreak in West Africa.

US health official: Ebola has 'upper hand'

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is visiting Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three hardest-hit countries, this week.

On Tuesday, he continued his visit in Liberia, which has the most cases and deaths.

"Lots of hard work is happening, lots of good things are happening," Frieden told a meeting attended by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday. "But the virus still has the upper hand."

But he expressed optimism that the outbreak can be contained.

"Ebola doesn't spread by mysterious means, we know how it spreads," Frieden said in his remarks, which were broadcast on Liberian TV. "So we have the means to stop it from spreading, but it requires tremendous attention to every detail."

Liberia has resorted to some of the most stringent measures to control the disease, including sealing off an entire slum neighborhood in the capital. Sirleaf has also declared a state of emergency and ordered all her ministers and top government officials to remain in the country or return from any trips.

Liberia orders government ministers home

Sirleaf issued orders on Tuesday that any official of ministerial rank who had not returned to their duties would be dismissed. Civil servants who failed to report for work would also have their salaries suspended, a presidency official told Reuters.

Some Liberian officials have been fleeing the country or just not turning up at work for fear of contracting the virus.

It was not immediately clear how many officials would be affected by the presidential order.

Liberia said a ban on travel to the region imposed by neighboring countries was complicating the fight against Ebola and leading to shortages of basic goods.

“Isolating Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea is not in any way contributing to the fight against this disease,” Information Minister Lewis Brown said. “How do we get in the kinds of supplies that we need? How do we get experts to come to our country? Is that African solidarity?”

http://www.voanews.com/content/reu-who- ... 28496.html

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:54 pm 
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WHO ‏@WHO 12m
WHO temporarily pulled back our health workers from Kailahun, #SierraLeone, after one of us was infected w/#Ebola

WHO ‏@WHO 4m
WHO health workers in Kailahun, #SierraLeone are exhausted from many weeks helping patients infected w/#Ebola

WHO ‏@WHO 3m
Today WHO sent a team to Kailahun, #SierraLeone, to review the incident on the colleague who became infected with #Ebola

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:58 pm 
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WHO ‏@WHO 16m
WHO temporarily pulled back our health workers from Kailahun, #SierraLeone, after one of us was infected w/#Ebola

2 more replies
WHO ‏@WHO 6m
We recognize this will interrupt work in the field short term, but it ensures we protect health workers, help community longer term #Ebola

WHO ‏@WHO 5m
Once investigation has been completed, approp. actions hv been taken, WHO will move back to Kailahun. Currently standby in Freetown #Ebola

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:28 pm 
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WHO withdraws Ebola virus staff in Sierra Leone

Why so many health care workers are being infected

CBC News Posted: Aug 26, 2014 8:56 AM ET| Last Updated: Aug 26, 2014 2:50 PM ET

Protective gear such as gloves and gowns are critical to protect health-care workers from the Ebola virus but don’t go far enough, doctors say as the World Health Organization announced it’s shut down a laboratory in Sierra Leone after a health worker was infected.

The Ebola virus outbreak in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria is the largest ever with at least 1,427 deaths and 2,615 infected since March.

To date, more than 240 health-care workers have developed the disease and more than 120 have died, WHO says.
The United Nations health agency said it’s pulled staff from a laboratory testing for the Ebola virus in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, after a Senegalese epidemiologist was infected.

"It's a temporary measure to take care of the welfare of our remaining workers," WHO spokesperson Christy Feig told Reuters, without specifying how long the measure would last. "After our assessment, they will return."

The Senegalese worker is under treatment at a government hospital in the eastern town of Kenema and will be evacuated from Sierra Leone, Feig said.

"This was the responsible thing to do. The field team has been through a traumatic time through this incident," said Dr Daniel Kertesz, WHO Representative in Sierra Leone, in a release. "They are exhausted from many weeks of heroic work, helping patients infected with Ebola. When you add a stressor like this, the risk of accidents increases."

In a commentary published in Tuesday’s online issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, U.S. doctors called personal protective equipment designed to shield health-care workers from contaminated body fluids of Ebola patients critical, but not enough to prevent transmission.

"If transmission of Ebola is effectively interrupted with the use of barrier protection, why are so many health-care workers in the current outbreak being infected, particularly this late in the epidemic? Two contributing factors include an insufficient supply of [personal protective equipment] and a lack of emphasis on the process of donning and doffing PPE," wrote Dr. William Fischer II from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and his co-authors.

Several other factors contribute, they said, such as:
■The difficulty health-care workers face in clinically recognizing Ebola virus infection, which often presents with symptoms including fever, fatigue and diarrhea that mirror more common ailments in sub-Saharan Africa such as typhoid fever and malaria.
■Limited supplies of personal protective equipment including gloves, gowns and face masks.
■Inadequate training in standard precautions.
■Poor public health infrastructure.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone also have few doctors — fewer than an estimated 0.1 physicians per capita.

Even when health-care workers wear the protective equipment, the commentators said, they are at risk of contamination with infectious fluids if the clothing isn’t removed properly.

The impulse to wipe away sweat in the hot, humid and exhausting environment may also lead to inadvertent infection, they said.

Ivory Coast Ebola Awareness Campaigns
In Abidjan, Ivory Coast, an Ebola awareness campaign is in full swing. (Sevi Herve Gbekide/Associated Press)

The commentators suggest that treatment sites mitigate the risks associated with removing protective gear by providing a separate exit, physically removed from the entrance, to ensure those donning the equipment don’t come into contact with those who may be contaminated, and that a dedicated person stationed at the exit focuses on guiding all health-care providers through each step of removing the equipment.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was in Liberia on Tuesday. He also plans to stop in Sierra Leone and Guinea.

"Lots of hard work is happening, lots of good things are happening," Frieden told a meeting attended by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday. "But the virus still has the upper hand."

Frieden told Liberian TV that stopping the spread of Ebola virus "requires tremendous attention to every detail."

In Britain, a volunteer nurse who tested positive for the virus after working in Sierra Leone has been given the experimental drug ZMapp, according to the London hospital that is treating him.
■Ebola virus experimental drugs and vaccines in early days of testing

William Pooley, 29, was flown home on Sunday in a specially adapted Royal Air Force cargo plane. He was taken to an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in north London.

Meanwhile, Ivory Coast's football federation said Tuesday that it had been instructed by its government to cancel or move next month's home game against Sierra Leone, one of the most affected countries in the West African Ebola outbreak.

A separate Ebola outbreak emerged over the weekend in Congo.

With files from Reuters and Associated Press
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/who-withdr ... -1.2746945

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:07 pm 
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WHO pulls Ebola team, probes site of staffer's infection
Filed Under: Ebola; VHF
Lisa Schnirring | Staff Writer | CIDRAP News | Aug 26, 2014

Because of airline flight cutbacks, Ebola treament centers like this one in Guinea are starting to be hampered by shortages of workers and supplies, officials say.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said today that is temporarily pulling its staff from a part of Sierra Leone where one of its deployed workers was sickened by the Ebola virus, as health officials battling the outbreak struggled with problems caused by bans on airline flights to the affected countries.

In a press release e-mailed to journalists the WHO said it pulled health workers from Kailahun, one of the outbreak hot spots, to Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital, after announcing over the weekend that one of its workers was infected.

The worker is reportedly an epidemiologist from Senegal who is with the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) and was in Kailahun district tracing EVD cases, according to earlier reports. Kailahun district is not far from where the borders of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia meet—a region that global health officials have called one of the outbreak's most intense hot spots.

WHO team 'exhausted'
Daniel Kertesz, MD, MPH, the WHO representative in Sierra Leone, said in the statement that the move was the responsible thing to do and that the field team has been through a traumatic time during the incident. "They are exhausted from many weeks of heroic work, helping patients infected with Ebola. When you add a stressor like this, the risk of accidents increases."

"We recognize that this will interrupt the work in the field for the short term, but it ensures we protect health workers and help the community over the longer term, " Kertesz said. "We are working rapidly to ensure we can return to the field as quickly as possible."

In a related action, the WHO said it sent another team to the area, which borders Guinea, to review how the health worker was infected, what the living and working conditions are like for employees, and what factors increase the risk of infection. Once actions are taken to address the issues, the agency said, it will move the team back to Kailahun, and for now, lab work will be conducted at the center in Kenema.

Frieden says situation worse than he feared
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, was in Liberia today to observe the outbreak and its response, and met with the country's president and other officials. He told Atlanta's WSB Radio that the outbreak is worse than he feared.

"This is an absolute emergency," Frieden said, adding that the top priority is getting people into treatment to stop the spread of the virus. He said product shortages are starting to be felt, and the response efforts of the CDC and its partners are being hobbled by flight reductions and countries not allowing aircraft to refuel.

While visiting Liberia, Frieden said he's seen Ebola patients with nowhere to go and an increasing number of corpses put into the street. He is scheduled to visit Sierra Leone and Guinea, as well.

At a United Nations (UN) briefing yesterday, officials repeated WHO warnings that flight limitations in and out of the outbreak countries are hobbling response operations. In a statement, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, "It [flight restriction] is not an optimal measure for controlling the import of Ebola virus disease. The measure does not reflect what is known about the way in which the virus passes between people."

Flight bans choke response
He said the restrictions are impeding the movement of international experts involved in disease control efforts, hindering the deployment of workers from aid groups such as Doctors Without Borders, and severely hampering the flow of equipment and supplies to the area.

After a 2-day meeting, a high-level UN delegation promised to step up response operations in Sierra Leone, the WHO said yesterday in an e-mail statement.

David Nabarro, MD, the UN secretary-general's Ebola response coordinator, said in the statement that the outbreak is still advancing in parts of Sierra Leone. "Our partnership with Sierra Leone to end the Ebola outbreak means upgrading all the UN is doing to get the scale-up required."

However, David McLachlan-Karr, UN resident coordinator for Sierra Leone, said the surge is possible only if the flights return to Sierra Leone.

In other developments, a draft blueprint of a response strategy that the WHO is expected to release this week estimates that more than $430 million will be needed to control the outbreak, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. Goals include reversing new case trends in 2 months and curbing transmission in 6 to 9 months, according to the report, which calls on governments, developments banks, the private sector, and in-kind contributions to support the funding.

The African Development Bank (ADB) on Aug 19 approved $60 million as part of a $210 million package to help strengthen West Africa's public health systems in response to the EVD outbreak, according to an ADB statement.

See also:

Aug 26 WSB Radio report

Aug 25 UN News Center report

Aug 25 WHO African regional office statement
Aug 25 Bloomberg News story

Aug 19 ADB statement

Aug 25 CIDRAP News story "WHO: Medical worker infections and shortages hamper Ebola response"

http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspect ... -infection

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:42 pm 
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Ebola outbreak: Canadians pulled from Sierra Leone as precaution
Diagnoses at WHO lab, hotel have Canadian workers on the move
10:45 PM ET
CBC News
The Public Health Agency of Canada said in a statement late Tuesday it is finalizing plans to bring the three-person mobile team from Winnipeg's National Microbiology Laboratory home from Sierra Leone.

The team is being recalled after three people staying at their hotel were diagnosed with the Ebola virus. None of the team members had direct contact with those diagnosed, and they are not displaying any signs of illness, officials said.

The team members will remain in voluntary isolation and will be monitored as they travel back to Canada. Those plans have not yet been firmed up, PHAC said.

The United Nations health agency had earlier announced it was pulling staff from a laboratory testing for the Ebola virus in Kailahun, in Sierra Leone, after a Senegalese epidemiologist was infected.

"It's a temporary measure to take care of the welfare of our remaining workers," WHO spokesperson Christy Feig told Reuters, without specifying how long the measure would last. "After our assessment, they will return."

The three Canadians were among six workers at the lab.

There will be an investigation to see whether it was a routine infection, or something to do with the lab's processes or equipment, WHO said.

Meanwhile, there are five Canadian staff members with Doctors Without Borders who all remain in Sierra Leone, a representative of the organization said, but it was unclear how many are in Kailahun.

The Ebola virus outbreak in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria is the largest ever with at least 1,427 deaths and 2,615 infected since March.

To date, more than 240 health-care workers have developed the disease and more than 120 have died, according to WHO statistics.

The Senegalese worker is under treatment at a government hospital in the eastern town of Kenema and will be evacuated from Sierra Leone.

"This was the responsible thing to do. The field team has been through a traumatic time through this incident," said Dr Daniel Kertesz, WHO Representative in Sierra Leone, in a release. "They are exhausted from many weeks of heroic work, helping patients infected with Ebola. When you add a stressor like this, the risk of accidents increases."

Protective equipment supply critical

In a commentary published in Tuesday’s online issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, U.S. doctors called personal protective equipment designed to shield health-care workers from contaminated body fluids of Ebola patients critical, but not enough to prevent transmission.

"If transmission of Ebola is effectively interrupted with the use of barrier protection, why are so many health-care workers in the current outbreak being infected, particularly this late in the epidemic? Two contributing factors include an insufficient supply of [personal protective equipment] and a lack of emphasis on the process of donning and doffing PPE," wrote Dr. William Fischer II from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and his co-authors.

Several other factors contribute, they said, such as:

The difficulty health-care workers face in clinically recognizing Ebola virus infection, which often presents with symptoms including fever, fatigue and diarrhea that mirror more common ailments in sub-Saharan Africa such as typhoid fever and malaria.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone also have few doctors — fewer than an estimated 0.1 physicians per 10,000 citizens.

Even when health-care workers wear the protective equipment, the commentators said, they are at risk of contamination with infectious fluids if the clothing isn’t removed properly.

The impulse to wipe away sweat in the hot, humid and exhausting environment may also lead to inadvertent infection, they said.


In Abidjan, Ivory Coast, an Ebola awareness campaign is in full swing. (Sevi Herve Gbekide/Associated Press)
The commentators suggest that treatment sites mitigate the risks associated with removing protective gear by providing a separate exit, physically removed from the entrance, to ensure those donning the equipment don’t come into contact with those who may be contaminated, and that a dedicated person stationed at the exit focuses on guiding all health-care providers through each step of removing the equipment.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was in Liberia on Tuesday. He also plans to stop in Sierra Leone and Guinea.

"Lots of hard work is happening, lots of good things are happening," Frieden told a meeting attended by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday. "But the virus still has the upper hand."

Frieden told Liberian TV that stopping the spread of Ebola virus "requires tremendous attention to every detail."

In Britain, a volunteer nurse who tested positive for the virus after working in Sierra Leone has been given the experimental drug ZMapp, according to the London hospital that is treating him.

Ebola virus experimental drugs and vaccines in early days of testing
William Pooley, 29, was flown home on Sunday in a specially adapted Royal Air Force cargo plane. He was taken to an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in north London.

Meanwhile, Ivory Coast's football federation said Tuesday that it had been instructed by its government to cancel or move next month's home game against Sierra Leone, one of the most affected countries in the West African Ebola outbreak.

A separate Ebola outbreak emerged over the weekend in Congo.

With files from Reuters and Associated Press
http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/world/ebola-ou ... -1.2746945

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:48 am 
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Ebola Forces the WHO to Shut Down Its Lab in Sierra Leone
Stephanie Burnett @stephy_burnett 5:31 AM ET

Medical workers are in retreat as the deadly virus continues to ravage West Africa

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Tuesday that it had shut down an Ebola-testing laboratory in Sierra Leone and pulled its staff, after a health worker contracted the lethal virus, Reuters reports.

“It’s a temporary measure to take care of the welfare of our remaining workers,” WHO spokesperson Christy Feig told the news agency. She did not specify how long the closure would last, but said staff would return “after our assessment.”

The lab is located in Kailahun, an area near the Guinean border that is severely affected by the outbreak, but it is unclear precisely how the infected worker, an epidemiologist from Senegal, contracted the virus. The WHO said he would be evacuated out of the country for treatment.

“The field team has been through a traumatic time through this incident,” said Dr. Daniel Kertesz, the WHO representative in Sierra Leone, in a statement. “They are exhausted from many weeks of heroic work, helping patients infected with Ebola. When you add a stressor like this, the risk of accidents increases.”

The shuttered lab is one of only two in the country, Reuters says, and its closure is likely to impede efforts to contain the deadliest ever outbreak of the virus, which has infected at least 2,615 people and killed at least 1,427.

Reuters also reports that Canada has pulled its three-person mobile laboratory team from Kailahun. Sean Upton, a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada, said on Tuesday that the workers were brought home because three people staying at their hotel had contracted Ebola. He added that the Canadian medics did not have contact with the infected individuals and did not display any symptoms of the virus.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Doctors Without Borders told the New York Times that it would continue to operate an 80-bed treatment center in Kailahun.

Health workers have paid a heavy price in their efforts to contain the outbreak, which has killed at least 120 medical workers and infected more than 240 as of Monday.

http://time.com/3185783/who-medical-wor ... of-canada/

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:12 am 
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WHO shuts Sierra Leone lab after worker infected with Ebola
Published August 27, 2014
Reuters

FREETOWN – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday it had shut a laboratory in Sierra Leone after a health worker there was infected with Ebola, a move that may hamper efforts to boost the global response to the worst-ever outbreak of the disease.

At least 1,427 people have died and 2,615 have been infected since the disease was detected deep in the forests of southeastern Guinea in March.

The WHO has deployed nearly 400 of its own staff and partner organizations to fight the epidemic of the highly contagious hemorrhagic fever, which has struck Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria. A separate outbreak was confirmed in Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday.

Nigeria's health minister said on Tuesday his country had "thus far contained" the Ebola outbreak.

One of the deadliest diseases known to man, Ebola is transmitted by contact with body fluids. The current outbreak has killed at least 120 healthcare workers.

The WHO said it had withdrawn staff from the laboratory testing for Ebola at Kailahun - one of only two in Sierra Leone - after a Senegalese epidemiologist was infected with Ebola.

"It's a temporary measure to take care of the welfare of our remaining workers," WHO spokeswoman Christy Feig said, without specifying how long the measure would last.

"After our assessment, they will return."

Feig said she could not assess what impact the withdrawal of WHO staff would have on the fight against Ebola in the Kailahun, the area hardest hit by the disease. The WHO said in a later statement that staff would return after an investigation was completed, adding that testing would continue in the meantime at the Kenema laboratory.

The Senegalese medic - the first worker deployed by WHO to be infected - will be evacuated from Sierra Leone in the coming days, Feig said. He is currently being treated at a government hospital in the eastern town of Kenema.

Separately, Public Health Agency of Canada spokesman Sean Upton said late on Tuesday the agency was planning to withdraw its three-person mobile laboratory team from Sierra Leone. The agency could not confirm immediately whether the lab was a different one from the laboratory that the WHO closed.

The Canadian team was recalled because three people in their hotel complex were diagnosed with Ebola, although Upton said none of the Canadians had direct contact with any of the sick people and were not showing any symptoms of Ebola.

CONGO OUTBREAK

With its resources stretched by the West African outbreak, medical charity Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Tuesday it could provide only limited help to tackle Congo's outbreak.

A report from the U.N. mission in Congo on Tuesday said 13 people there had died from Ebola, including five health workers.

Congo said on Sunday it would quarantine the area around the town of Djera, in the isolated northwestern jungle province of Equateur, where a high number of suspected cases has been reported. It is Congo's seventh outbreak since Ebola was discovered in 1976 in Equateur, near the Ebola river.

Congo's Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi said on Sunday the outbreak in Equateur was a different strain of the virus from the deadly Zaire version in West Africa, although further tests are planned in a German laboratory.

"Usually, we would be able to mobilize specialist hemorrhagic fever teams, but we are currently responding to a massive epidemic in West Africa," said Jeroen Beijnberger, MSF medical coordinator in Congo. "This is limiting our capacity to respond to the epidemic in Equateur Province."

However, the charity said it would send doctors, nurses and logistics experts to the region and would work with the government to open an Ebola case management center in Lokolia.

Louise Roland-Gosselin, deputy head of mission for MSF in Congo, said Congolese Ebola experts working in West Africa should return to their own country to assist with the outbreak there. "MSF can't do it alone," she said.

The WHO plans to send protective equipment for medical staff in Equateur.

A 65-year-old woman with Ebola-like symptoms died in Equateur's capital Mbandaka, health workers said on Tuesday, raising concerns of a possible spread to an urban center.

Health Minister Kabange Numbi confirmed the death but said the cause was not yet known.

PRESIDENTIAL ORDER

Up to 90 percent of Ebola victims die, although the fatality rate in the current outbreak is lower at close to 60 percent.

The only treatments are extremely rare, experimental and have so far had mixed results. Of the six health workers known to have been treated with unlicensed drug ZMapp, two have died.

Still, the first Briton to have contracted the deadly Ebola virus while working in West Africa has decided to take the drug, the London hospital where he is being treated said, adding that the volunteer nurse was "in good spirits".

Sierra Leone and Liberia - struggling to recover from a decade of civil war in the 1990s - have seen their healthcare systems overwhelmed by Ebola, the first outbreak in West Africa.

In Liberia, the country that has reported the most Ebola deaths, the health ministry has reported more than 200 new suspected, probable and confirmed cases in a three-day period. Most of them occurred in the seaside capital Monrovia, where two neighborhoods are under army-backed quarantine.

Some Liberian officials have been fleeing the country or not turning up at work for fear of contracting the virus, prompting President Ellen Johnson on Tuesday to issue orders threatening those of ministerial rank with dismissal.

More junior civil servants would have their salaries suspended, a presidency official told Reuters. It was not clear how many officials would be affected by the presidential order.

Liberia said a ban on travel to the region imposed by neighboring countries was complicating the fight against Ebola and leading to shortages of basic goods. British Airways said on Tuesday it planned to extend a suspension of flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia until Dec. 31 because of Ebola.

"Isolating Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea is not in any way contributing to the fight against this disease," Information Minister Lewis Brown said. "How do we get in the kinds of supplies that we need? How do we get experts to come to our country? Is that African solidarity?"

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/08/2 ... ith-ebola/

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