August 2014 – AFRICA – There have been 56 more deaths in a 48-hour period in West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, bringing the total number of fatalities to 1,069. The vast majority of deaths have been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. There have also been three deaths in Nigeria, following the worst-ever outbreak which began in March. In the two days to August 11, there were 128 new cases, meaning a total of 1,975, according to the World Health Organization. Many of the dead are health workers, who are often working with inadequate supplies and protection. Among the victims is the first European – a Spanish priest who died on Tuesday in a Madrid hospital after being infected while treating Ebola patients in Liberia. Several hundred mourners have attended a funeral service for missionary Miguel Pajares in the capital. The 75-year-old man was cremated shortly after he died and his ashes were taken in an urn in a black hearse to the chapel of San Rafael hospital. He had been treated with an experimental US serum, ZMapp. The drug is also being used on two Americans, Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, in the US who were infected with the disease in Liberia.
Meanwhile, a consignment of ZMapp has arrived by plane in Liberia to treat two doctors suffering from the virus. It will be taken to the John F Kennedy Memorial hospital in the capital Monrovia and administered to doctors Zukunis Ireland and Abraham Borbor. It comes after Liberia’s presidency said the US has approved a request for sample doses of the drug to be sent to the country. Guinea is considering asking for access to the vaccine and has declared the outbreak a “health emergency.” Ebola has a fatality rate of up to 90%. A senior doctor in England, virologist Christopher Logue, is travelling to Guinea to help deal with the crisis by leading laboratory tests on people who may have come into contact with the virus. –Sky News