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First ebola case treated in Europe; outbreak kills 932 people so far

A Spanish missionary infected with deadly ebola has become the first person to be treated in Europe. The outbreak has killed 932 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria since it first emerged in remote tropical forests earlier this year.

Miguel Pajares, who contracted the disease while helping ebola patients at a hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia, is in hospital in Madrid after being flown in from Liberia. A specially equipped military Airbus A310 brought Pajares, 75, to the Torrejon airbase along with a Spanish nun, Juliana Bonoha Bohe.

She had worked at the same Liberian hospital but did not test positive for ebola. Immediately after landing, ambulances took the pair to Carlos III Hospital, which specialises in tropical diseases, and they were kept in isolation.

The priest was stable and showed no sign of bleeding while the nun appeared to be well but would be re-tested for ebola just in case, health officials said.

Meanwhile, Britain is committing another £3m on top of £2m already pledged to Sierra Leone and Liberia which will allow charities to increase specialist care and improve monitoring of the disease.

A state of emergency has been declared in Liberia where bodies lay in streets, with passers-by too scared to touch or help them. In Sierra Leone, troops were sent to guard hospitals and clinics handling ebola cases.

Two Americans who worked for Christian aid agencies in Liberia and were infected with ebola while taking care of patients in Monrovia were recently flown to the US for treatment. They have shown signs of improvement after being given an experimental US-developed drug known as ZMapp, which is difficult to produce on a large scale.

Nigeria is holding out hope that it could receive ZMapp - a drug which is proving controversial as it not being made available to victims in Africa. There is growing pressure on the World Health Organisation to sanction the use of such drugs in Africa.

But US President Barack Obama said it was too soon to send ZMapp to the continent, adding’ “We’ve got to let the science guide us.” He said, “I don’t think all the information is in on whether this drug is helpful.”

Ebola - which has a mortality rate of up to 90% - cannot spread through airborne or waterborne methods, say experts. It is transmitted primarily through contact with bodily fluids such as saliva, blood, urine and other secretions.