Ebola outbreak: Britain steps up airport screening as UN aid worker dies from virus

Edmond Bangura-Sesay (not pictured), who had been a driver for UN Women since 2005, died in Sierra Leone

Natasha Culzac
Tuesday 21 October 2014 06:42
UN aid worker Edmond Bangura-Sesay has died after contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone
UN aid worker Edmond Bangura-Sesay has died after contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone

A United Nations (UN) employee has died from Ebola.

Mr Edmond Bangura-Sesay, a driver for UN Women in Sierra Leone, passed away on Saturday after contracting the virulent disease.

Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people in the recent outbreak sweeping through West Africa, with nations around the world now scrambling to try and contain the virus.

The organisation said that Mr Bangura-Sesay had been suspected of developing it on Tuesday and was, as a result, quarantined. His spouse had previously exhibited symptoms.

He had been a driver with UN’s women’s office since 2005, it said, and in a statement said they were “deeply saddened” by the passing of their colleague, who is the third known UN worker to have died from the disease. His wife is still being treated.

UN Women added: “Together with the UN Medical Services all necessary measures are being taken.

“The UN medical team is conducting immediate and robust contact tracing in order to ensure that all people who came into contact with the staff member while he was symptomatic are assessed and quarantined.

“Our thoughts now are with the family and friends of our colleague Edmond.”

Public Health England (PHE) today confirmed that screening at Gatwick airport's North Terminal will commence on Tuesday, with the South Terminal following on Wednesday and Eurostar's port at London's St Pancras later this week.

A spokesperson said: “This expands the screening initiated at Heathrow last week, which is going well. Manchester and Birmingham airports will follow in the coming weeks.

“Screening is being undertaken to help ensure individuals arriving from high-risk areas know what to do if they start feeling ill, and can receive expert advice immediately.”

Meanwhile, a US cameraman being treated for Ebola in Nebraska is steadily improving, health officials said, and could be released from isolation at the end of the week if tests prove him to be free of the virus.

Ashoka Mukpo had been receiving an experimental drug and had had a blood transfusion from someone who survived Ebola, the Associated Press reports.

Cuba’s leader Raul Castro warned, at a summit of leftist Latin American and Caribbean countries today, that more must be done by the international community to tackle Ebola.

He said: “I am convinced that if this threat is not stopped in West Africa with an immediate international response ... it could become one of the gravest pandemics in human history,” Reuters reports.

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