Ebola test centre to be created in the Lothians

image copyrightSPL
image captionThe current Ebola outbreak has caused the deaths of almost 5,000 people

A new testing facility to help investigate possible cases of the Ebola virus will be established in Scotland in December.

Health Secretary Alex Neil announced the centre would be established in the Lothians.

It has also emerged 59 Scottish health workers have volunteered to work in West Africa, the region most affected by the Ebola disease.

Nearly 5,000 people have died during the current outbreak of the virus.

The Scottish government will provide funding to NHS Lothian to provide a testing service for viral haemorrhagic fevers, such as Ebola and yellow fever, from the start of December.

At the moment, blood samples need to be sent to England for examination.

Mr Neil also said that oil and gas workers travelling to and from parts of West Africa that have been affected by the Ebola outbreak would be subject to the same protections as volunteers and aid workers who are providing assistance in the region.

He said: "We are also working with the oil and gas industry to ensure that any of the oil and gas workers coming or going to affected countries will have access to the same type and quality of monitoring arrangements which are in place for medical volunteers."

Ebola virus disease (EVD)

media captionHow Ebola survivors’ blood is saving lives
  • Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
  • Spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva
  • Fatality rate can reach 90% - but current outbreak has mortality rate of about 70%
  • No proven vaccine or cure
  • Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be virus's natural host

Oil and gas workers have been advised they need to wait 21 days before they can work on a Scottish rig after arriving from an area affected by Ebola.

Mr Neil told MSPs at Holyrood: "The public should be reassured the risk of Ebola coming to Scotland is still very low and if it does arrive here the NHS is ready to respond and public health will be protected."

Earlier, the president of the World Bank appealed for thousands of medical workers to volunteer and help contain the growing Ebola outbreak.

Jim Yong Kim said at least 5,000 medics and support staff were needed to help beat the disease.

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