Vancouver Sun

UN urges world to do more as death toll from virus climbs


American marines scrambled to add Ebola treatment beds in Liberia on Friday, while the U. S. and Britain readied new disease screenings for passengers arriving at their airports from West Africa. Doctors tried out experiment­al drugs in a global battle against the deadly sickness.

The UN said nations must all work together — and fast — or “the world will have to live with the Ebola virus forever.” The focus was on the three countries where the virus is multiplyin­g out of control — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

“As long as there is one case of Ebola in any one of these countries, no country is safe from the dangers posed by this deadly virus,” said Anthony Banbury, who heads the new United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response.

The death toll in West Africa passed 4,000 for the first time in the World Health Organizati­on’s count of confirmed and suspected Ebola cases.

The Harper government is asking Canadians who live in three countries in West Africa where the Ebola virus is raging to consider leaving now. Health Minister Rona Ambrose said the updated travel advisory is aimed at 216 Canadians who live in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The U. S. military is rushing to set up a 25- bed hospital in Liberia for health workers who catch the disease. Rear Adm. Scott Giberson, the acting U. S. deputy surgeon general, said the facility would be ready within weeks.

In addition to the hospital, a vanguard of marines brought aircraft this week that will help ferry constructi­on supplies for 17 treatment units with 100 beds each, to be finished by the end of November.

Passengers travelling to the U. S. from West Africa are to be screened using no- touch thermomete­rs. Over the next week, the screenings will expand from New York’s Kennedy Internatio­nal to Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta. Those airports receive more than 90 per cent of passengers from the three nations.

A U. S. citizen who presents a heightened risk of disease upon arrival at the United States has a legal right to reenter the country and be safely quarantine­d, said Lawrence Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University. That same guarantee would not apply to non- U. S. citizens, but as a practical matter, giving them immediate treatment might be safer than putting them on a plane back home.

Meanwhile, a possible Ebola vaccine developed by the U. S. government is being tested on up to 40 medical workers in the West African nation of Mali, which shares a border with Guinea.

An experiment­al Ebola vaccine that Canada has donated to the WHO will be shipped to Geneva next week, the global health agency said Thursday. If Canada transfers 1,000 vials to the WHO and if 100 doses can be obtained from each vial, the Canadian donation could turn out to be 100,000 doses of vaccine.

 ?? JOHN MOORE/ GETTY IMAGES ?? A Liberian burial team dons protective clothing to remove another of Ebola’s more than 4,000 victims.
JOHN MOORE/ GETTY IMAGES A Liberian burial team dons protective clothing to remove another of Ebola’s more than 4,000 victims.

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