Europe

Ebola outbreak: UN health worker dies in Germany hospital

  • 14 October 2014
  • From the section Europe
The clinic for infectious diseases at St. Georg Hospital in Leipzig, Germany, 9 October 2014.
Image caption The Ebola patient was being treated at St Georg hospital in Leipzig

A UN medical worker infected with Ebola has died at a hospital in Germany.

Doctors at the hospital in Leipzig said the man, 56, originally from Sudan, died despite receiving experimental drugs to treat the virus.

More than 4,400 people have died from the outbreak, mainly in West Africa.

The rate of new cases at some of the "epicentre" areas has slowed down, the World Health Organization says, but the number of cases in the capitals of the worst-affected countries is rising.

Senior WHO official Bruce Aylward told reporters on Monday that the outbreak was also continuing to spread geographically to new districts in the capitals of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Elsewhere:

  • The US and UK are among countries to have introduced scanning at airports
  • A Spanish nurse remains in critical condition after becoming the first person to contract the disease outside of Africa last week, although doctors say there are signs of improvement
  • UN Ebola mission leader Tony Banbury has called for massive support from governments worldwide, saying: "We need everything. We need it everywhere, and we need it superfast."

Ebola patients treated outside West Africa*

*In all cases but two, first in Madrid and later in Dallas, the patient was infected with Ebola while in West Africa.

How not to catch Ebola:

  • Avoid direct contact with sick patients as the virus is spread through contaminated body fluids
  • Wear goggles to protect eyes
  • Clothing and clinical waste should be incinerated and any medical equipment that needs to be kept should be decontaminated
  • People who recover from Ebola should abstain from sex or use condoms for three months

Why Ebola is so dangerous

How Ebola attacks

Ebola: Mapping the outbreak


Temperature checks

The man who died in Leipzig had been working as a UN medical official in Liberia - one of the worst affected countries - when he caught Ebola.

He arrived in Germany last Thursday for treatment and was put into a hermetically sealed ward, accessed through airlock systems.

"Despite intensive medical measures and maximum efforts by the medical team, the 56-year-old UN employee succumbed to the serious infectious disease," a statement from St Georg hospital said.

He was the second member of the UN team in Liberia to die from the virus, the BBC's Jenny Hill in Berlin says.

He was also the third Ebola patient to be treated for the virus in Germany after contracting the disease in West Africa.

Image caption Front-line health workers are at high risk of contamination
Image caption London's Heathrow airport is to start screening passengers arriving from the worst affected countries

One patient - a Ugandan doctor infected in Sierra Leone - is still receiving treatment in a hospital in Frankfurt, while a Senegalese aid worker was released from a hospital in Hamburg after five weeks of treatment.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is alarmed by the number of health workers exposed to the disease.

The WHO has warned the epidemic threatens the "very survival" of societies and could lead to failed states.


Ebola deaths: Confirmed, probable and suspected

Source: WHO

Note: figures have occasionally been revised down as suspected or probable cases are found to be unrelated to Ebola. They do not include one death in the US recorded on 8 October.