news Monday, April 06, 2015 - 13:12

Rebecca Megson | The News Minute | August 12, 2014 | 8.26 pm IST

A Spanish missionary, who had been working in Liberia, has died of Ebola in a hospital in Madrid. This is the first confirmed case of Ebola in Europe since the outbreak began.

A spokesperson from Public Health England told The News Minute that whilst it is of concern there was no change to the current ‘low risk’ classification for the UK.

The UK government and officials are in meetings this week to discuss the issues raised by the outbreak including repatriation of UK citizens currently living in the affected countries.

No cases have yet been identified in the UK, although British Airways have suspended flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia until the end of August because of the outbreak. Other airlines have also suspended flights to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Gatwick spokesperson David Whitley told The News Minute: “Although Gatwick has limited flights to West Africa, our medical responders are fully prepared to recognise the symptoms of Ebola and take any necessary action should a suspected case be brought to their attention.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared the current spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa an international health emergency on August 8.

More than a thousand people are thought to have died in the current Ebola outbreak according to the latest figures from WHO, making this the largest outbreak of Ebola ever recorded. The outbreak involves transmissions in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. 

Economist and leader in sustainable development Jeffrey D. Sachs said: “These epidemic diseases are new markers of globalization, revealing through their chain of death how vulnerable the world has become from the pervasive movement of people and goods.”

WHO have provided an FAQ document on Ebola, including information on transmission, symptoms and actions to be taken:

  • The virus is transmitted human-to-human
  • Infection occurs from direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes with the blood or other bodily fluids or secretions (stool, urine, saliva, semen) of infected people
  • Infection can occur if healthy people come into contact with infected environments such as soiled clothing, bed linen or used needles
  • Men who have recovered from the illness can still spread the virus to their partner through semen for up to 7 weeks after recovery
  • Those most at risk as heath workers, family members and people in close contact with infected people and mourners who have direct contact with bodies of the deceased as part of burial ceremonies
  • Typical signs and symptoms include
  • Sudden onset fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, sore throat
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function
  • In some cases both internal and external bleeding
  • If you have been in an area known to have Ebola virus disease or in contact with a person known or suspected to have Ebola and you begin to have symptom, you should seek medical care immediately

Whilst there is a large Indian national population living and working in the affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria there has been no Ebola case detected in India to date.

For further information and support please see the Health and Family Welfare Ministry website and WHO FAQ:

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