Ebola death toll reaches 932
ABUJA (AP):A Nigerian nurse who treated a man with Ebola is now dead and five others are sick with one of the world's most virulent diseases, authorities said yesterday as the death toll rose to at least 932 people in four West African countries.
The growing number of cases in Lagos, Nigeria, a megacity of some 21 million people, comes as authorities acknowledge they did not treat Patrick Sawyer as an Ebola patient and isolated him for the first 24 hours after his arrival in Nigeria last month. Sawyer, a 40-year-old American of Liberian descent with a wife and three young daughters in Minnesota, was travelling on a business flight to Nigeria when he fell ill.
The death of the unidentified nurse marks the second Ebola death in Nigeria, and this worries health experts as it is the Africa's most populous country and Lagos, where the deaths occurred, one of its biggest cities.
Ben Webster, a Red Cross disaster response manager in London, said it is "critically important" that people displaying symptoms are identified quickly.
"It's impossible to say whether this specific situation could have been avoided, but there is certainly more likelihood of travellers coming from an Ebola-affected country in the region and authorities need to be aware, even if the infrastructure and situation is challenging."
In Saudi Arabia, officials say a man who was being tested for the Ebola virus has died. The 40-year-old returned on Sunday from Sierra Leone, where at least 286 people have died from Ebola, and was then hospitalised in Jiddah after showing symptoms of the viral haemorrhagic fever.
Spain's Defence Ministry, meanwhile, said a medically equipped Airbus 310 is ready to fly to Liberia to repatriate a Spanish missionary priest who has Ebola. The ministry said yesterday that preparations for the flight are being finalised, but it is not yet known when the plane will take off.