20 OCTOBER 2014
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According to the British government the risk of Ebola to the general public in the UK remains very low. The outbreak of the virus primarily affects three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Around 9,000 cases and more than 4,500 deaths have been reported across these countries by the World Health Organisation (17 October 2014).
Ebola can only be transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person or animal.
Britain has begun screening passengers arriving at London's Heathrow Airport from West Africa for signs of the virus. The process involves passengers who have travelled to the affected area filling out questionnaires to discover any possible exposure to the virus and undertaking temperature checks if necessary. Gatwick will follow this week and also St Pancras International for Eurostar. Birmingham and Manchester airports are planning to implement checks.
The United States has begun a similar screening process at New York's JFK airport and other US major international airports will follow.
On Saturday (18 October) the Prime Minister called on European leaders to agree on an ambitious package of measures to tackle the Ebola crisis when they meet in Brussels this week.
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