Worker infected with Eboala at WHO laboratory:
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has shut a laboratory in Sierra Leone after a health worker there was infected with Ebola.
At least 1,427 people have died and 2,615 have been infected since the disease was detected deep in the forests of south-eastern Guinea in March.
The WHO said it had withdrawn staff from the laboratory testing for
Ebola at Kailahun – one of two 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 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 the WHO to be infected – would be evacuated from Sierra Leone in the coming days, Feig said. In the meantime, he was being treated at a government hospital in the eastern town of Kenema.
The WHO has sent nearly 400 of its own staff and partner organisations to fight the epidemic in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria. A separate outbreak has been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Nigeria’s health minister said on Tuesday his country had “thus far contained” the Ebola outbreak.
A report from the UN 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 north-western 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 were planned in a German laboratory. The charity Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said it could provide only limited help to Congo because of the epidemic in other countries and any Congolese experts working on Ebola cases in west Africa should return home to assist.