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Nigeria's largest city is struggling to find medical personnel to help fight Ebola‎

It has appealed for volunteers to come forward.

West Africa Ebola Nigerian port health officials uses a thermometer on a worker at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos. Source: AP Photo/Sunday Alamba

NIGERIA HAS APPEALED for volunteers to help halt the spread of Ebola and India took steps to tackle any outbreak of the deadly virus, as two of the world’s most populous countries reacted to the global health emergency.

Authorities in Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, said they needed volunteers because of a shortage of medical personnel.

“I won’t lie about that,” Lagos state health commissioner, Jide Idris, said on television.

Lagos, home to some 20 million people, has recorded nine confirmed cases of Ebola, including two deaths.

In the capital Abuja on Friday, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan declared the Ebola crisis a national emergency and approved the immediate release of 1.9 billion naira (€8.7 million) to fund efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

Isolation

The money will finance additional centres to isolate Ebola patients, screen arrivals at borders, trace those exposed to the virus, and boost public awareness.

A meeting will be held in Abuja on Monday to discuss strategies to curb the spread of Ebola, which has claimed nearly 1,000 lives in four west Africa nations: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

The other three countries have also declared states of emergency.

Africa Ebola Previous Outbreaks Nurses from Uganda's Ministry of Health check passengers arriving from Democratic Republic of Congo Source: AP Photo/Rebecca Vassie

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Margaret Chan, declaring the epidemic a global health emergency, said in Geneva Friday it was the worst of its kind in four decades.

The WHO appealed for international aid to help afflicted countries after a rare meeting of the UN health body’s emergency committee, which urged screening of all people flying out of affected countries in west Africa.

It stopped short of calling for global travel restrictions, urging airlines to take strict precautions while continuing to fly to the west African countries hit by the outbreak.

India

In India, a country of 1.25 billion people, airports went on alert and the government opened an emergency helpline Saturday as part of measures to tackle any outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in the country.

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India has nearly 45,000 nationals living in the four Ebola-affected west African nations, and health officials said there was a possibility of some of them returning to their home country if the outbreak worsens.

India’s Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in a statement the country has “put in operation the most advanced surveillance and tracking systems” for the hemorrhagic virus.

Fever and flu

Meanwhile, a patient back from Nigeria who showed symptoms of fever and flu — possible signs of Ebola – was put in isolation in a Toronto-area hospital, Canadian health officials said late last night.

The unnamed male patient was being treated at the William Osler Health System’s Brampton Civic Hospital in a suburb of Toronto.

“As a precautionary measure, Osler put in heightened infection control measures in the emergency department including isolating the patient”, the hospital said in a statement.

Hospital doctors “are working closely” with public health officials “to confirm a diagnosis”.

- © AFP, 2014

Read: Greece testing a man for Ebola at Athens hospital >

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