‘HE COULD HAVE BROUGHT EBOLA HERE': EBOLA VIRUS ALMOST MAKES IT TO THE UNITED STATES

Patrick Sawyer was supposed to be at his kids’ birthday party in a few weeks—but he died of the virus before he could board a flight to Minneapolis. His wife on the epidemic’s toll.

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by Michael Daly | The Daily Beast
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Nigeria felt a chill from the hot zone when a 40-year-old man collapsed and died from the dread Ebola virus after flying there from Liberia.That hot zone chill now reaches America, with word that the same man was scheduled to fly to Minneapolis in time for an August 16 party celebrating the birthdays of two of his three young daughters.

Patrick Sawyer was a naturalized U.S. citizen who worked for the Finance Ministry of his native Liberia and returned home to his wife and children in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, whenever he could. He almost certainly would have boarded that flight to Minneapolis had he remained at least outwardly healthy enough not to exhibit symptoms.

One nightmare scenario would have been for him to go ahead with the birthday party for his daughters even though he was feeling a little flu-ish and maybe dish out cake and ice cream to his little girls before anybody imagined he might be carrying the deadly virus from distant West Africa.

“He could have brought Ebola here,” his wife, Decontee Sawyer, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday.

Patrick had been tending to a sick sister named Princess in Liberia and had not learned the exact nature of her illness until after she died.

“He knew she was sick and he kept caring for her, but he didn’t know it was Ebola,” Decontee said. “It could have been malaria.”

He was still grieving when he texted his wife on July 18, but he gave no indication that he was feeling ill. Decontee would wonder if witnessing his sister’s terrible death had left him unable to accept that he could suffer the same fate as a result of trying to aid her.

“I think he might have been in a state of denial,” Decontee suggested.

Patrick fell manifestly ill on July 20 during the 6-hour, 40-minute journey via two flights on ASKY Airlines, from Monrovia to Lomé in Togo and on to Lagos, where he was scheduled to attend an economic development conference. He collapsed at the Lagos airport and was placed in isolation at First Consultants Hospital in Obalende, a high-density neighborhood in the teeming city.

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After Patrick’s death on July 25, the hospital was evacuated and quarantined for a week to allow decontamination. The 44 people with whom he was known to have had contact at the hospital—38 health-care workers and six lab techs—either were isolated or monitored, depending on the exposure. Also being monitored are 15 people he encountered at the airport, reportedly including the Nigerian ambassador to Liberia.

Nigerian officials were unable to check who might have been exposed on the two ASKY flights, as the airline inexplicably had failed to provide passenger lists. ASKY did suspend all service to Liberia and to Sierra Leone, which also has reported numerous Ebola cases.

In Minnesota, Decontee had no idea anything was amiss until she got a phone call on Friday informing her that her husband was dead.

“Just out of nowhere, out of the blue,” she said. “I never thought Ebola would break down my front door, and that’s what it did.”

She was faced with trying to explain to 5-year-old Eve and 4-year-old Mia why their father would not be at the party to mark the birthdays they both celebrate in August.

“They can barely understand what’s going on,” Decontee said. “I told the girls he’s looking down at them, they can talk to him now anytime they want.”

The youngest, Bella, had just turned 1 in March and likely will have no memory of her father. The thought of what all three girls had lost and what so many other children stand to lose because of this virus filled Decontee with an urgency to do something to fight it.

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“I feel like Ebola has declared war on me, and I’m ready to do it right back,” she said. “You can only cry so much, and then you have to do something. Because while you’re crying, people are dying still. “

She consulted with friends on Facebook and formed Concerned Liberians Against Ebola. A posting on the page read: “One way you could help is to call your relatives, friends, and anyone you know in Liberia to take this disease seriously, quarantine anyone suspected of the disease, and stock up on medicines to treat simple malaria attacks to clear up any confusion.”

But Decontee wanted to do more. She and like-minded friends decided that any funds or supplies they could raise should go to two organizations whose medical teams are bravely taking on Ebola in the hot zone, Samaritan’s Purse and Global Health Ministry.

“Risking their lives,” Decontee said of the two eminently worthy outfits. “They want to help so we want to help them do the work.”

Samaritan’s Purse had established the Ebola treatment center where an American physician, Dr. Kent Brantly, serves as medical director. Brantly came to Liberia with his wife and two children as a medical missionary seeking to do nothing more dangerous than family medicine at the Eternal Love Winning Africa Hospital in Monrovia. He and his ELWA colleagues then began hearing talk in mid-March of an Ebola outbreak more than 100 miles away in Lofa. His hospital established an isolation unit in the facility’s chapel.

“And prayed it would not be needed,” reports an ELWA blog. “At first it seemed that the prayers had been answered. The outbreak subsided experienced a short lull, and for a time there were no new confirmed cases in Liberia.”

But at the end of May, the epidemic flared, and this time it spread to Monrovia. ELWA got its first case on June 11, and more soon followed. The hospital turned to Brantly, who is meticulously cautious and profoundly compassionate.

“As the epidemic began to unfold, Kent found himself in a very difficult circumstance,” Dr. Donald McCray, a longtime mentor and friend, later said during a press conference at the John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, where Brantly completed his residency last year. “He was asked to serve as the medical director of the isolation unit for Ebola.”

Brantly accepted. One small mercy was that his family returned to Texas on a pre-scheduled visit, sparing him from having to worry about infecting them.

He and his team remained uncommonly careful, spending at least a half-hour suiting up before venturing into the Ebola isolation ward. Every centimeter of skin was covered. Gloves were doubled and taped to sleeves. But the hands were skilled. And Brantly’s deep-blue eyes were no less kind and caring behind plastic goggles. He would spend at least a half-hour being decontaminated afterward.

Elsewhere in Liberia, entire hospitals emptied out, patients, doctors, and nurses, all fleeing in fear of Ebola. The team at Brantly’s facility kept at it day after day, often four hours at a time in the stultifying full-body suits before a break, followed by another four hours of watching the disease do its unimaginable worst despite all their best efforts.

“Terrified,” Brantly said of himself to McRay.

No images from combat zones depict greater courage than do photographs of Brantly and his team in the hot zone, tending a patient in the midst of horrific suffering that they themselves were risking. Brantly is a man of deep faith, and he was proving himself to be a Christian such as Christ would cherish, someone practicing that greatest love. Any religion that values life would embrace this doctor’s scripture in action, his gospel of goodness.

Last week, Brantly began to feel ill. And, like Patrick Sawyer’s sister, he thought at first that he might be coming down with malaria.

“His symptoms developed on Wednesday, with fever, headache, abdominal pain…and have progressed,” McCray told the press conference in Texas on Monday.

Brantly tested positive for Ebola, as did another American, Nancy Writebol, who had been working with the decontamination crew. He became a patient along with Writebol in the ward he had been supervising. His prognosis was described as “grave.”

“I’m praying fervently that God will help me survive this disease,” Brantly said in an email to McRay on Monday. “Please continue to pray along with me and pray for my friend Nancy who is also very sick, and for the doctors who are taking care of us. Thank you all so much. Peace, Kent.”

How Brantly and Writebol became infected remains a mystery. There is one theory that they were both exposed by a Liberian worker in the contamination crew who fell ill. Another theory is that Brantly was exposed somewhere outside the hospital.

The many people who admire Brantly note that the fatality rate for Ebola drops from 90 percent to about 60 percent if it is caught early, as was apparently the case with the good doctor.

Even so, that is less than an even chance, at best.

From Minnesota, Decontee Sawyer calls on all decent souls to support the brave medical teams taking on the virus that is only a plane ride away from anywhere.

“We all have to work together to stop Ebola from continuing to kill people,” Sawyer said. “And to keep it from coming across the ocean.”

She will be holding a memorial for her husband in September.

And there will be an event before then, one on August 16 that she will not let Ebola stop.

“We’re going to have that birthday party,” she said.

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FIRST EBOLA PATIENT COMING TO UNITED STATES FOR TREATMENT

By Abby Haglage | The Daily Beast
One of two Americans infected with ebola in West Africa will be brought to the United States for treatment at Emory University.
One of two Americans infected with ebola in West Africa will enter the U.S. for treatment at Emory University in Atlanta “in the next several days,” according to an internal memo sent to physicians on Thursday and seen by The Daily Beast. The memo offers few other details about the patient, with no stated time of arrival or departure city, or indicators as to the exact identity of the patient.

In absence of specifics, the hospital says it’s “prepared and ready” for the arrival, with a “highly specialized, isolated unit” that it designed with the help of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, headquartered nearby. CNN reported that a specialized medical plane was already en route to Liberia on Thursday night.

Staff at the hospital have reportedly been “highly trained” as well and are aware of “unique protocols” that will be necessary to treat the patient.

Vince Dollard, associate vice president of communications for Emory, declined to say who the arriving patient is, exactly, but did confirm that it is either Dr. Kent Brantly or Nancy Writebol, two U.S. charity workers infected in Africa. Both remain in serious condition. Writebol received an “experimental serum” Thursday afternoon while Brantly was given a blood transfusion.

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This is the first time a patient infected with the ebola virus, which can kill up to 90 percent of the people it infects in a matter of days, has been brought to the United States or the Western Hemisphere. The disease is a spread via bodily fluids, necesitating strict isolation for the patients and thorough decontamination. Health care workers like Brantly and Writebol place themselves at great risk to treat diseases like ebola.

In a call with reporters Tuesday, Stephan Monroe, deputy director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the CDC, assured listeners that the outbreak posed “little risk” to America, adding that the chances of anyone infected arriving undiagnosed were slim. In another call Thursday afternoon, CDC Director Tom Frieden said plans were in place to stop ebola-infected people from boarding planes in West Africa.

After advising against travel to the affected areas, Frieden said increased caution is warranted. “The bottom line is that Ebola is worsening in West Africa,” he said. The CDC plans to send 50 more staff members to Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone in the next month, adding to the dozen CDC workers that are already there. “It will take many months, and it won’t be easy, but ebola can be stopped,” said Frieden. “We know what needs to be done.”

The text of the memo sent to Emory physicians follows:

This email is sent on behalf Robert Bachman, CEO, EUH; Bill Bornstein, M.D., Ph.D., CQO, CMO, EHC; Ira Horowitz, M.D., CMO, EUH; and Chris Larsen, M.D., D.Phil., Dean, Emory University School of Medicine

Dear Physicians,

You may hear in the media that Emory University Hospital plans to receive a patient with Ebola virus infection in the next several days. We do not know at this time when the patient will arrive. Please be assured that our hospital is prepared and ready. We have a highly specialized, isolated unit in the hospital that was set up in collaboration with the CDC to treat patients who are exposed to certain serious infectious diseases. This unit is physically separate from other patient areas and has unique equipment and infrastructure that provide an extraordinarily high level of clinical isolation. In fact, Emory University Hospital is one of just four facilities in the entire country with such a specialized unit.

Emory University Hospital physicians, nurses and staff are highly trained in the specific and unique protocols and procedures necessary to treat and care for this type of patient. For this specially trained staff, these procedures are practiced on a regular basis throughout the year, so we are fully prepared for this type of situation.

We will provide you with any updates as needed.

Thank you for your commitment to the privacy and well-being of our patients.

Bob, Bill, Ira and Chris

WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN IF EBOLA COMES TO AMERICA?

The federal government already has the authority to round people up against their will

by Michael Snyder | Economic Collapse

If the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history reaches the United States, federal law permits “the apprehension and examination of any individual reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease”.  These individuals can be “detained for such time and in such manner as may be reasonably necessary”.  In other words, the federal government already has the authority to round people up against their will, take them to detention facilities and hold them there for as long as they feel it is “reasonably necessary”.  In addition, as you will read about below, the federal government has the authority “to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill”.  If you want to look at these laws in the broadest sense, they pretty much give the federal government the power to do almost anything that they want with us in the event of a major pandemic.  Of course such a scenario probably would not be called “marital law”, but it would probably feel a lot like it.

If Ebola comes to America and starts spreading, one of the first things that would happen would be for the CDC to issue “a federal isolation or quarantine order”.  The following is what the CDC website says about what could happen under such an order…

Isolation and quarantine are public health practices used to stop or limit the spread of disease.

Isolation is used to separate ill persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy. Isolation restricts the movement of ill persons to help stop the spread of certain diseases. For example, hospitals use isolation for patients with infectious tuberculosis.

Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms. Quarantine can also help limit the spread of communicable disease.

Isolation and quarantine are used to protect the public by preventing exposure to infected persons or to persons who may be infected.

In addition to serving as medical functions, isolation and quarantine also are “police power” functions, derived from the right of the state to take action affecting individuals for the benefit of society.

“Isolation” would not be a voluntary thing.  The federal government would start hunting down anyone that they “reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease” and taking them to the facilities where other patients were being held.  It wouldn’t matter if you were entirely convinced that you were 100% healthy.  If the government wanted to take you in, you would have no rights in that situation.  In fact, federal law would allow the government to detain you “for such time and in such manner as may be reasonably necessary”.

And once you got locked up with all of the other Ebola patients, there would be a pretty good chance that you would end up getting the disease and dying anyway.  The current Ebola outbreak has a 55 percent percent mortality rate, and experts tell us that the mortality rate for Ebola can be as high as 90 percent.

Once you contracted Ebola, this is what it would look like

Sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. That is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function and internal and external bleeding.

The “external bleeding” may include bleeding from the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and just about every other major body cavity.

So how is Ebola spread?

Well, medical authorities tell us that it can be spread through the blood, urine, saliva, stools and semen of a person or animal that already has Ebola.

If you are exposed to the disease, the incubation period can be from anywhere from two days up to 21 days.  But the average is usually about eight to ten days.

In other words, you can be spreading it around for over a week before you even know that you have it.

There is no vaccine for Ebola and there is no cure.

Not everyone dies from the virus, but most people do.

Needless to say, this is about the last disease that you want to catch.  And the doctors that are treating Ebola patients in Africa are going to extreme lengths to keep from getting it…

To minimise the risk of infection they have to wear thick rubber boots that come up to their knees, an impermeable body suit, gloves, a face mask, a hood and goggles to ensure no air at all can touch their skin.

Dr Spencer, 27, and her colleagues lose up to five litres of sweat during a shift treating victims and have to spend two hours rehydrating afterwards.

They are only allowed to work for between four and six weeks in the field because the conditions are so gruelling.

At their camp they go through multiple decontaminations which includes spraying chlorine on their shoes.

But despite all of those extraordinary measures, multiple doctors have already gotten sick.

For example, one of the doctors leading the fight against Ebola, Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, died on Tuesday

A doctor who was on the front lines fighting the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone has died from complications of the disease, Doctors Without Borders said Tuesday.

Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan fell ill early last week while overseeing Ebola treatment at Kenema Government Hospital, about 185 miles east of Sierra Leone’s capital city, Freetown.

He was treated by the French aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres — also known as Doctors Without Borders — in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, up until his death, spokesman Tim Shenk said.

And two American doctors that went over to Africa to help fight the disease are now battling for their own lives…

Dr. Kent Brantly, who was treating victims of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, is currently being treated in an isolation unit in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, the AP reported Tuesday.

“I’m praying fervently that God will help me survive this disease,” Brantly said in an email Monday to Dr. David Mcray, the director of maternal-child health at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. The Texas-born Brantly, 33, completed a four-year medical residency at the hospital, the AP said.

Brantly’s wife and two young children left Liberia to return to Abilene, Texas, days before he began to show symptoms of Ebola. They are being monitored for any signs of fever, a City of Abilene spokeswoman told the AP.

A second American, aid worker Nancy Writebol of Charlotte, N.C., is also stricken with Ebola, according to CBS/AP. Writebol had been working as a hygienist to help decontaminate people at an Ebola care center in Monrovia.

This is not like other Ebola outbreaks.

Something seems different this time.

But instead of trying to keep things isolated to a few areas, global health authorities are going to start sending Ebola patients to other parts of the globe.  For example, one German hospital has already agreed to start receiving Ebola patients…

A German hospital has agreed to treat Ebola patients amid widespread fears of a possible outbreak of the deadly disease in Europe. Over 670 people have already been killed by the disease in West Africa with doctors struggling to control the epidemic.

A German hospital in Hamburg agreed to accept patients following a request from the World Health Organization (WHO), Deutsche Welle reports. Doctors assure that the utmost precautions will be taken to make sure the disease does not spread during treatment. The patients will be kept in an isolation ward behind several airlocks, and doctors and nurses will wear body suits with their own oxygen supplies that will be burned every three hours.

Will Ebola patients also soon be sent to hospitals in the United States?

And of course there are many other ways that Ebola could spread to this country.  For instance, all it would take would be for one infected person to get on one airplane and it could all be over.

Federal authorities seem to have been preparing for such an outbreak for quite a while.  As my good friend Mac Slavo has pointed out, “biological diagnostic systems” were distributed to National Guard units in all 50 states back in April…

The Department of Defense informed Congress that it has deployed biological diagnostic systems to National Guard support teams in all 50 states, according to a report published by the Committee on Armed Services. The report, published in April amid growing fears that the Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus might spread outside of West Africa, says that the portable systems are designed for “low probability, high consequence” scenarios.

Some 340 Joint Biological Agent Identification and Diagnostic System (JBAIDS) units have thus far been given to emergency response personnel. The systems are “rapid, reliable, and [provide] simultaneous identification of specific biological agents and pathogens,” says executive officer for the DOD’s Chemical and Biological Defense group Carmen J. Spencer.

Let us certainly hope for the best.

Let us hope that this latest outbreak fizzles out and that we won’t even be talking about this by the end of the year.

But experts are warning that if a major global pandemic does break out that millions upon millions of people could die.

If that happens, many people will go crazy with fear.

And we got just a little taste of some of the paranoia that an Ebola epidemic in America would create in Charlotte, North Carolina earlier this week…

A corridor of Carolinas Medical Center – Main’s Emergency Room was roped off on the first floor, near the entrance Wednesday.

A security guard was posted outside, to prevent anyone from crossing the line.

During a 4 p.m. press conference Katie Passaretti, who is an infectious disease specialist with CMC, said precautions were put into place when patient was brought in Tuesday night.  The patient was traveling from Africa and arrived at the hospital around 11:30 p.m.

Around 3 a.m. the security precautions were put into place at the hospital, Passaretti said.

Passaretti said they determined the patient did not have Ebola.  The patient has been discharged home.

It is not too hard to imagine forced quarantines and people being rounded up and shipped off to Ebola detention facilities.

In fact, if Ebola were to start spreading like wildfire in this country, many people would actually start demanding such measures.

For example, one member of Congress is already proposing that citizens of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone (and any foreigner that has recently visited those nations) be kept out of the United States…

In a letter addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, proposed that citizens of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as “any foreign person who has visited one of these nations 90 days prior to arriving in the United States” be kept out of the country. He urged the secretaries to “consider the enhanced risk Ebola now presents to the American public”.

CONGRESSMAN: CLOSE BORDER TO EBOLOA COUNTRIES

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By Steven Nelson | U.S. News

The dreaded Ebola virus has spread from the jungle into major cities in West Africa, and at least one American congressman believes it’s time to ban citizens of the three hardest-hit countries, as well as foreigners who recently visited them, from entering the U.S.

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., requested the travel ban in a Tuesday letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Citizens of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone should be barred from entry, Grayson wrote, as should any foreign national who visited one of the countries 90 days before their intended visit to the U.S. He wants the proposed ban to remain in effect for the duration of the outbreak and to be expanded to any other country where Ebola takes hold.

“I urge you to consider the enhanced danger Ebola now presents to the American public, and therefore request that appropriate travel restrictions be implemented immediately,” he wrote.

Ebola has an incubation period of up to three weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and kills up to 90 percent of people infected. Most victims contract the virus by touching the bodily secretions or corpses of infected people, or from contaminated needles.

CDC officials said Monday it’s unlikely the virus will spread to the U.S., but that American doctors should be on the lookout. Stephan Monroe, deputy director of the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, compared spread of the virus to a forest fire.

“Outbreaks can be reseeded, much like a forest fire with sparks,” he told reporters on a conference call, NBC News reports.

Liberian-born U.S. citizen Patrick Sawyer was quarantined in Lagos, Nigeria, and died Friday after becoming ill with Ebola. His widow said he was en route to the United States, meaning he might have become “patient zero” for a North American outbreak.

“I don’t want any other families to go through this. Ebola has to stop,” Decontee Sawyer told the Pioneer Press. “Patrick was coming here [to Minnesota]. What if he still wasn’t displaying symptoms yet and came? He could have brought Ebola here.”

Grayson wrote that the Sawyer case was “particularly troubling.”

In addition to Sawyer, two American medical personnel caring for the sick became infected this month and are currently quarantined in Africa. Dr. Kent Brantly’s wife and two children returned from Liberia days before he became sick and were interviewed by Texas health professionals. They are not being isolated from the public because they likely did not come in contact with an infected person, CBS News reports.

Ebola epidemics historically burn out because of the high mortality rate. The current outbreak began in February in a remote corner of Guinea and is the first to strike West Africa. Unlike previous episodes in central Africa, this outbreak has spread to major urban centers. Its fatality rate also appears lower.

According to World Health Organization data released Monday, through July 23 there were 1,201 suspected cases of Ebola – and 672 deaths – in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Of the suspected cases, 814 were confirmed as Ebola.

Ebola outbreaks are deemed over after two consecutive 21-day periods pass without a new case. The current outbreak is the largest in history.

Spokespeople for the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the proposed travel ban.

READ: GRAYSON’S EBOLA LETTER

PEACE CORPS PULLS VOLUNTEERS OVER EBOLA OUTBREAK

by Kim Hjelmgaard and Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY

The Peace Corps announced Wednesday that it was temporarily withdrawing its 340 volunteers in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone after two workers were exposed to the Ebola virus.

A spokeswoman told CNN and CBS News that the pair were being isolated after coming in contact with an infected patient who later died. The two have not exhibited symptoms, however, and will be sent back the United States after doctors clear them.

The Peace Corps did not indicate when the volunteers might return to West Africa, where the growing outbreak is centered.

“The agency has been and will continue to closely monitor the outbreak of the virus in collaboration with leading experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of State,” according to a statement.

Health officials in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, fearing that the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa could go global, have tested at least two airline passengers who have shown symptoms of the disease.

The outbreak — the largest in history — has spread across Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone and killed at least 672 people, according to the World Health Organization. The disease has no vaccine and no specific treatment. It has a fatality rate of at least 60%.

In the U.K., the Department of Health confirmed Wednesday that a man who flew into Birmingham airport recently from Nigeria via Paris was clear of the virus despite saying he felt feverish.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who chaired an emergency meeting Wednesday on Ebola with health experts, scientists and other ministers, said “the issue is about the possibility of somebody who has contracted the disease in Africa getting sick here.”

“It is not about the disease spreading in the UK because frankly we have different standards of infection control procedure that would make that most unlikely,” he told reporters, according to the BBC.

In Hong Kong, a woman with suspected Ebola symptoms had been isolated for treatment in the city, reported China’s CCTV news. The woman who had been on vacation in Kenya subsequently tested negative for the disease.

In Charlotte, N.C, the main corridor of the emergency department at Carolinas Medical Center was cordoned off as a precaution early Wednesday after a patient who had traveled to Africa arrived late Tuesday. The patient, who had returned from an unidentified country “known for high risk of infectious diseases,” was found to not have Ebola and was discharged, the hospital said.

Two American medical missionaries working with Ebola patients in Liberia have been diagnosed with the virus.

Kent Brantly, 33, is medical director of the Ebola care center run by Samaritan’s Purse on the outskirts of the Liberian capital of Monrovia, and Nancy Writebol had been disinfecting doctors and nurses working with Ebola patients.

A statement by the North Carolina-based group said both showed “slight improvement” in the past 24 hours but remain in serious condition.

The first American fatality from this outbreak was Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old consultant with the Liberian Ministry of Finance, who collapsed upon arrival in Lagos, Nigeria, last week and died Friday in a hospital while under quarantine.

His wife, Decontee Sawyer, who lives in Coons Rapid, Minn., said her husband had been scheduled to fly to Minneapolis on Aug. 16 to attend a birthday party for two of their children. “He could have brought Ebola here,” she told The Daily Beast on Tuesday.

In Sierra Leone, Sheik Umar Khan, the doctor leading the fighting against the Ebola outbreak in that country, died from the virus on Tuesday, the country’s chief medical officer said, the Daily Mail reports.

Experts say that in its earliest stages symptoms of Ebola include fever, aches and a sore throat.

WHO says the risk of travelers contracting Ebola is considered low because it requires direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions such as urine, blood, sweat or saliva.

Ebola can’t be spread like flu through casual contact or breathing in the same air.

According to WHO, Ebola first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

LIBERIAN OFFICIAL: EBOLA OUTBREAK ‘IS ABOVE THE CONTROL OF THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS Charlotte/AP) — A Liberian health official says the Ebola outbreak is now above the control of its government.

“Our government has declared this now as a humanitarian crisis that is above the control of the national government,” Tolbert Nyenswah, Liberia’s assistant minister of health, told CBS News.

More than 700 people have died in four western African nations during the largest Ebola outbreak ever, with over 320 known cases in Liberia alone. One American died while contracting the virus in Liberia. Two other American medical missionary workers also contracted Ebola.

“This virus, if it is not taken care of, will be a global pandemic,” Nyenswah told CBS News, calling for more international aid to help treat the sick and stop the spreading of the disease.

The Peace Corps has now temporarily evacuated 340 volunteers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone after two members were exposed to the virus. CBS News reports those two volunteers have been isolated.

This comes as two North Carolina-based missionary groups have ordered the evacuation of their non-essential personnel from Liberia after a doctor and a missionary contracted Ebola.

SIM USA President Bruce Johnson announced Tuesday that his group and Samaritan’s Purse decided on the evacuation following an upsurge in the number of Ebola cases in Liberia. Johnson said the logistics of the evacuation are being determined.

Spokesman Palmer Holt said approximately 60 employees will be evacuated. A statement from SIM says none of the evacuees is displaying any symptoms of Ebola, but all are being monitored continually.

A Texas-trained doctor and a missionary from Charlotte have contracted the disease.

EBOLA: DOCTOR QUARANTINED IN CANADA

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(AFP) A Canadian doctor has put himself in quarantine as a precaution after spending weeks in West Africa treating patients with the deadly Ebola virus alongside an American doctor who is now infected, local media said Tuesday.

Azaria Marthyman of Victoria, British Columbia had worked in Liberia, one of four countries hit by an outbreak, with the Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse.

He has not tested positive for the virus, nor shown any symptoms since returning to Canada on Saturday, but one of his American colleagues, doctor Kent Brantly, is being treated for the disease.

“Azaria is symptom-free right now and there is no chance of being contagious with Ebola if you are not exhibiting symptoms,” Melissa Strickland, a spokesperson for Samaritan’s Purse, told broadcaster CTV.

Brantly, 33, became infected with Ebola while working with patients in the Liberian capital of Monrovia as he helped treat victims of the worst Ebola outbreak in history.

He “is not doing well. He is still in the early stages of the Ebola infection but having some daily struggles,” David McRay, a friend and family medicine doctor in Fort Worth, Texas, told AFP by phone.

“He has requested that I not talk in detail about his symptoms and what he is experiencing, but he is weak and quite ill.”

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