US, Canada up Ebola screenings as man dies

US, Canada up Ebola screenings as man dies
By admin


The US and Canada have announced stepped-up airport screening measures to look for passengers carrying Ebola, as the deadly virus killed a man in Texas and the worldwide toll neared 3,900.

The spillover of the virus – with the first diagnosis in United States and the first case of infection in Spain – has raised fears of contagion in the West.

The world's largest outbreak of Ebola has killed 3,865 people out of 8,033 infected so far this year, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to the World Health Organisation's latest count.

But the WHO sought to contain concerns of a wider outbreak in Europe after a Spanish nurse was infected, with regional director Zsuzsanna Jakab saying sporadic cases in Europe were "unavoidable" but the risk of a full outbreak was "extremely low".

In Washington, officials announced increased screening at five major airports including in New York, Washington, Chicago, Atlanta and New Jersey.

And Canadian health minister Rona Ambrose said passengers arriving from west African countries affected by the epidemic must go through tightened controls, though she didn't specify where these would take place.

Meanwhile, two people were hospitalised in Los Angeles and Dallas for possible exposure to Ebola.

The LA case, concerning a patient who'd travelled to Liberia, turned out to be a false alarm.

In the Dallas case, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Tom Frieden said, "there is someone who does not have either definite contact with Ebola or definite symptoms of Ebola who is being assessed".

Ebola is transmitted by close contact with the bodily fluids of a person showing symptoms of infection such as fever, aches, vomiting and diarrhoea, or who has recently died of the virus.

Thomas Eric Duncan became the first patient cared for in the US to die of Ebola, said Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

Duncan died 10 days after he was admitted and despite receiving an experimental drug to fight off the illness.

"Mr Duncan succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola. He fought courageously in this battle," a hospital statement read.

Duncan is believed to have been infected with Ebola before he left Liberia and boarded a plane to visit family in Texas.

The CDC has said there was "zero risk" he had infected any fellow travellers because he was not symptomatic until days after the flight.

News of Duncan's diagnosis led to a spike of suspected Ebola cases and forced governments to consider stronger methods of keeping the virus at bay.

Hours after Duncan died, the White House announced the stricter screenings, which will be implemented from Saturday.

They include sending extra CDC staff to airports and taking the temperatures of people arriving from Ebola-hit nations.

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