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Fifth person dies in Guinea Ebola flare-up

A fifth person has died of Ebola in southeast Guinea since March 17, a health official told Reuters on Tuesday, raising concerns that a recent flare-up of the deadly virus could spread. The latest case was detected in Macenta prefecture, about 200 kilometers from the village of Korokpara where the four other recent Ebola-related deaths occurred, said Fode Sylla Tass, spokesman for National Coordination of the Fight against Ebola in Guinea. Burials, where bodies of the deceased are often washed, have been a main cause of transmission of Ebola, which has killed at least 11,300 people in West Africa since 2013 in the worst outbreak on record.

White House says magnitude of Zika challenge means new funding needed

The White House said on Monday that it will ask the U.S. Congress for permission to redirect some money set aside for Ebola-related projects for its response to the Zika virus, but said it would primarily need new funding to address the outbreak. President Barack Obama has asked Congress for more than $1.8 billion to fight Zika, but several top Republican lawmakers have said the administration should instead draw from funds not yet used for public health projects aimed at the Ebola virus. “The magnitude of the Zika outbreak primarily requires new resources to ensure it is adequately addressed,” White House budget director Shaun Donovan said in a letter to Representative Hal Rogers, the top Republican appropriator in the House of Representatives.

After Ebola, two other tropical diseases pose new threats

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) – A little-known bacterial disease may be killing as many people worldwide as measles, scientists said on Monday, while a mosquito-borne virus known as Zika is also raising global alarm. The spread of Ebola in West Africa last year shows how poorly-understood diseases can emerge and grow rapidly while researchers race to design and conduct the scientific studies needed to combat them. Researchers in the journal Nature Microbiology called for the bacterial infection meliodosis, which is resistant to a wide range of antibiotics, to be given a higher priority by international health organizations and policy makers.

Liberia monitors over 150 Ebola contacts as virus re-emerges

By James Harding Giahyue MONROVIA (Reuters) – Liberia has placed 153 people under surveillance as it seeks to control a new Ebola outbreak in the capital more than two months after the country was declared free of the virus, health officials said. The first of the new patients was a 15-year-old boy called Nathan Gbotoe from Paynesville, a suburb east of the capital Monrovia. “We have three confirmed cases and have listed 153 contacts, and we have labeled them as high, medium and low in terms of the risk,” Liberia's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francis Kateh told Reuters late on Saturday.

China’s foreign minister to visit Ebola-affected countries

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi leaves this week on a visit to three of the African nations hardest hit by an outbreak of the Ebola virus, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. Ebola has killed more than 11,200 people in West Africa since it broke out in December 2013. China, Africa's biggest trading partner, has sent hundreds of medical workers to Africa and contributed aid of more than $120 million to the anti-Ebola effort, after initially facing criticism for not doing enough.

Breakthrough in quest for Ebola vaccine

An Ebola test vaccine provided blanket protection in a field trial in Guinea, researchers said, possibly heralding “the beginning of the end” for the devastating West African outbreak that has killed thousands. The serum was 100 percent effective after a week in more than 7,600 people inoculated, according to results published in The Lancet medical journal and hailed as “extremely promising” by World Health Organization (WHO) chief Margaret Chan. The world was “on the verge of an effective Ebola vaccine,” the UN's health agency said in a statement.

Suspected Congo Ebola victims test negative for the virus

Six hunters in the Democratic Republic of Congo who fell sick and were suspected to have Ebola have tested negative for the virus, the health minister said on Saturday. The government and World Health Organization investigated a possible outbreak about 270 km (170 miles) northeast of the capital when the hunters developed Ebola-like symptoms after eating an antelope that appeared to be sick when they killed it. “All of the samples are negative … There is not an Ebola epidemic,” Health Minister Felix Kabange said in an interview on state-run television.

Ghana halts Ebola vaccine trial due to community protests

Ghana has halted a plan to test two Ebola vaccines in an eastern town after legislators backed local protests against the trials sparked by fears of contamination, officials said on Wednesday. The country's Food and Drugs Authority said it had begun enlisting volunteers in Hohoe in the Volta region to be injected with drugs made by Johnson & Johnson and Bavarian Nordic as part of a global Ebola vaccine drive. Ebola has killed more than 11,000 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since it began more than a year ago but new cases have declined sharply.

Experts denounce WHO’s slow Ebola response

A UN-sponsored independent report by experts on Monday denounced the World Health Organization's slow response to the Ebola crisis. WHO only declared a global public health emergency on August 8 after the outbreak had taken hold in west Africa.