Ebola: A Serious Threat to Britain

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By Afza Fathima | August 1, 2014 1:45 PM EST

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said that the ebola virus outbreak in Africa is a serious threat to Britain.

He told Sky News that there are currently no British nationals affected by it. Public health authority in England has warned that the virus was out of control. 

Reuters
Government health workers administer blood tests to check for the Ebola virus in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 25, 2014.

A meeting to assess preparations to cope with possible outbreak of the deadly disease was to be chaired by Mr. Hammond. The Ministry of Department of Health has confirmed that one person in Britain was tested for ebola but the results of the test were negative. The man was said to have travelled from West Africa to Central England. 

According to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, since the last five months, 1201 cases of ebola and 672 deaths have been reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. 

The symptoms of the disease are severe fever, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and, in a few cases, organ failure and unstoppable bleeding. The disease can kill victims within days of affecting them. Ninety per cent of those affected by it dies.

Dr Brian McCloskey, director of global health at Public England, said that the developments in West Africa are being watched closely and that the outbreak is not under control. He added that there has been a continuous increase in the cases especially in the area of Sierra Leone. He and his team are working towards assessing the situation and providing as much support as possible.

The UK medical practitioners have been alerted and have been asked to remain vigilant in the case of unexplained illness. The risk of a traveller visiting West Africa contracting ebola is very low because it can be transmitted only through direct contact with blood or the bodily fluids of a person infected by ebola.

Experts have raised warnings that the deadly virus could spread through "bush" meat that could land up in a market stall in UK.

The bug that kills many is feared to have contaminated a lot of meat smuggled into the UK and illegally sold in the market. The meat is disguised as beef but is actually meat from wild animals like rats, chimpanzees and antelopes.

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(Photo: Reuters / Umaru Fofana)
Government health workers administer blood tests to check for the Ebola virus in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 25, 2014.
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