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UN peacekeeper positive for Ebola

A UN peacekeeper in Liberia has tested positive for Ebola and will be flown to the Netherlands for treatment, a Dutch Health Ministry spokeswoman has said.

The Nigerian soldier is expected to arrive in the Netherlands this weekend and will go into isolation at the University Medical Centre Utrecht, according to Inge Freriksen.

It is the third infection for the mission, which comprises about 7,700 troops and police. The previous two cases were fatal.

Sixteen people who came into contact with the Nigerian soldier have been quarantined, the mission said.

Ebola has affected more than 17,500 people, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. About 6,200 have died.

Liberia has recorded the highest number of cases and deaths but, with infection rates stabilising there, the government decided to go ahead with a Senate election this month and allowed campaign rallies.

This week, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said those events are impeding efforts to contain Ebola and banned all public gatherings until 30 days after results of the December 16 election are announced.

There are concerns that the president may be using Ebola as an excuse after a large crowd rallied in support of former soccer star Geroge Weah, who is running against Ms Sirleaf's son, Robert.

"There is a clear political motive, and that political motive is in the interest of her son," said Tiawan Gongloe, a human rights lawyer who was once a member of Ms Sirleaf's Cabinet.

Meanwhile, in Sierra Leone, where the disease is spreading fastest, 100 Nigerian health workers arrived today and another 25 British doctors and nurses are expected tomorrow.

Sierra Leone is desperately short of space in Ebola clinics and health workers in hot spots around the capital and in the north.

Ebola has symptoms that are similar to other more common diseases, like malaria, and many people who have shown up at Ebola treatment centres have turned out to be sick with something else.

In an effort to keep at least some of those people away from treatment centres, Sierra Leone today launched a massive campaign to hand out malaria medication door-to-door to 2.4 million people. Liberia has undertaken a similar campaign.


From Belfast Telegraph