Another American doctor has contracted the Ebola virus while working at a hospital in Liberia.
Missionary group Serving In Mission said the unnamed doctor had been treating women in the obstetrics ward of a hospital in the Liberian capital.
The group doesn’t know how the Eboladoctor contracted Ebola since the ward is separate from the area where Ebola patients are being treated.
Last month two Americans, including one from SIM, were evacuated to the United States for treatment after contracting Ebola in Liberia.
The two received an experimental drug known as ZMapp and recovered from Ebola. The manufacturer says it has run out of supplies of the drug and it will take months to produce more.
The news came as medical agency Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) says the world is “losing the battle” to contain Ebola and has called for a global biological disaster response to get aid and personnel to west Africa.
“Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it. Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat,” MSF international president Dr Joanne Liu told a UN briefing in New York.
“The (World Health Organisation) announcement on August 8 that the epidemic constituted a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ has not led to decisive action, and states have essentially joined a global coalition of inaction.”
Dr Liu called for the international community to fund more beds for a regional network of field hospitals, dispatch trained personnel and deploy mobile laboratories across Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Meanwhile, an separate outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed 31 people and the epidemic remains contained in a remote north-western region, the UN health agency say.
“There are now 31 deaths,” Eugene Kambambi, the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s head of communication in DR Congo, said on Tuesday, citing Congolese authorities and stressing that the epidemic “remains contained” in an area around 800 kilometres north of the capital Kinshasa.
Health officials had previously given a death toll of 13 people from the lethal haemorrhagic fever since August 11 around the isolated town of Boende, surrounded by dense tropical forest in Equateur province.
Mr Kabambi was speaking by telephone from Mbandaka, the provincial capital, where he was accompanied by Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi and the WHO representative in DRC, Joseph Cabore. The three were due to travel later to the Boende area, which has already been quarantined.
Mr Kabamba added that there were “53 confirmed, suspected or likely cases” of Ebola, while 185 people were under medical watch because they had admitted to contact with patients or were believed to have had dealings with people stricken by the highly contagious disease.
The government announced on August 25 that the DRC was facing its seventh Ebola outbreak since the disease was first identified in the former Zaire in 1976.
The health minister has ruled out any link with a serious Ebola epidemic sweeping parts of west Africa, at a cost of more than 1500 lives, on the grounds that there had been no contact between those distant nations and Boende. The WHO has taken the same position.
Health authorities state that the outbreak is confined to four medical zones around Boende, where some personnel from the WHO and the charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have been working with specialised epidemiologists since mid-August.
MSF on Monday told AFP that reinforcements had reached the affected area and were setting up an Ebola clinic. The deep forest location makes it hard for health teams to get to Boende, along with medical supplies to treat symptoms of the disease.
On the basis of WHO figures, Ebola kills a global average of 61 per cent of those infected, causing unstoppable bleeding and the collapse of internal organs in its final stages.
While there is no vaccine, patients can be helped through the early phases of infection, marked by severe headaches, muscle pains and dehydration because of vomiting and diarrhoea.