Ebola mapFear about the spread of Ebola is now gripping governments, as they struggle to cope with the West African epidemic. The World Health Organisation warns the disease is spreading faster than efforts to control it. The current death toll is just under 900.

These are some of the latest stories:

    • Nigeria reports that the doctor who treated the Ebola patient from Liberia has himself contracted the disease. Meanwhile, the Nigerian government worries about how to prevent Ebola further, since the country has more than 1,400 illegal or informal border crossings.
    • Nigeria bans the return of bodies from outside the country, especially from Ebola infected countries.
    • Hundreds of troops deployed in Sierra Leone and Liberia to try to halt the disease. West African leaders agreed to seal off areas of infection, with troops, if need be. “We have agreed to take important and extraordinary actions at the inter-country level to focus on cross-border regions that have more than 70 percent of the epidemic,” said Hadja Saran Darab, the secretary-general of the Mano River Union bloc grouping the nations.

      Ebola pandemic chart“These areas will be isolated by police and military. The people in these areas being isolated will be provided with material support,” she said at the meeting in Conakry.

    • Ghana bans flight from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

    • World Health Organisation warns that traditional burial practices in Sierra Leone and Guinea of washing bodies helps spread the virus.
    • Namibia holds 100 passengers on board an airliner from Tanzania, because one of the passengers becomes ill.
    • Aksy – a major West African airline – ended flights between the effected countries. Asky said it took the decision to keep “its passengers and staff safe during this unsettling time”. Emirates suspends flights to Guinea.
    • South Africa says it will not allow foreign nationals to travel to the country for medical care.”If there is a confirmed diagnosis of a foreign national, they will not be allowed into the country (to get treatment),” said Lucille Blumberg of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. “If it is undiagnosed and the person does not know, they will be treated.”
    • 274 Mormon missionaries are being transferred out of Sierra Leone and Liberia due to the Ebola outbreak.
    • The U.S. Peace Corps has evacuated hundreds of its staff from the effected countries.
    • The U.S. is sending more than 50 Ebola experts to the region to try to fight the epidemic.
    • Air ambulances has evacuated two American medical staff infected by Ebola. The health of one of the evacuees, Kent Brantly, is reported to be improving.
    • Concern in Britain that Ebola might be brought in by infected smuggled bush meat.

Despite the evident concern, scientists continue to insist that Ebola is not a global threat. This article from Scientific America makes this case, arguing that the virus is NOT easily spread.