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British Ebola patient to be evacuated

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — The first British citizen confirmed to be infected with the deadly Ebola disease is being evacuated from Sierra Leone on a jet sent by the Royal Air Force, a Sierra Leone official said Sunday.

The World Health Organization is also considering medical evacuation for a Senegalese health worker who has become infected in Sierra Leone, the U.N. health agency said.

Neither patient was identified by name.

The British patient was working at an Ebola treatment center in eastern Sierra Leone, the region most affected by the outbreak, said Sidie Yayah Tunis, director of communications for the Sierra Leone health ministry.

The Senegalese health worker is an epidemiologist deployed from a WHO partner organization, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said on Twitter.

The two cases highlight the risks facing health workers on the front lines of the battle against Ebola, which has killed more than 1,400 people across West Africa, according to the latest WHO figures.

"This is the first time someone working under the aegis of WHO has fallen ill with the disease," the WHO said in its statement, adding that more than 225 health workers have been infected and nearly 130 have died from Ebola during the current outbreak.

The British patient was transported via ambulance to Sierra Leone's main airport in the town of Lungi, Tunis said.

Britain's Department of Health said the patient was being flown on a specially equipped RAF transport plane to Northolt air base in London.

On Sunday, Congo said two Ebola-related deaths had been confirmed in the country's northwest Equateur province, but Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi said they were unrelated to the West Africa outbreak.

The WHO said confirmation testing of the Congo cases would likely come back today.

It would be the seventh outbreak of Ebola in Congo, where the disease was first discovered in 1976.

British Ebola patient to be evacuated 08/24/14 [Last modified: Monday, August 25, 2014 1:40am]
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