(Reuters) – Fears that the Ebola outbreak will spread globally rose on Thursday with the deteriorating health of an infected Spanish nurse, a British man who died in Macedonia being tested for the virus and more demands by U.S. lawmakers for travel bans.
At least 26 members of the U.S. House of Representatives want travel bans and visa restrictions on citizens of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the impoverished West African nations hardest hit since the worst Ebola outbreak on record.
The calls came a day after the death in Texas of the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States and after the United States and Britain announced they will start screening many airline passengers arriving from affected countries for fever and other Ebola symptoms.
Fears of having to clean up vomit and faeces in airplane bathrooms from infected travellers with insufficient protection prompted about 200 airline cabin cleaners to walk off the job for a day in New York.
“The nation is frightened, and people are frightened of this disease,” U.S. cabinet secretary for health, Sylvia Burwell said at a press conference. “They’re frightened because it has a very high mortality rate. They’re frightened because they need to learn (and) understand what the facts are about that disease.”
The Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fever and is spread through direct contact with body fluids from an infected person, who would suffer severe bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea. About half of people infected have died in the current outbreak, although up to 90 percent of patients have died in previous outbreaks.
Spain’s government rejected criticism that its methods of dealing with Ebola were not working and blamed the infection of a Spanish nurse on human error.
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