U.S. military planes arrive at epicenter of Ebola


• State health officials said Thursday that a Dallas County sheriff’s deputy who exhibited symptoms of Ebola had tested negative for the disease. Michael Monnig was released from a Texas hospital Thursday, one day after he went to a health clinic complaining of illness. Monnig was among a group of deputies who days earlier went inside the Dallas apartment where an Ebola patient from Liberia, Thomas Eric Duncan, was staying. Monnig did not have contact with Duncan but did see some of Duncan’s family members who are now in isolation. Duncan died Wednesday.

• An Australian nurse who reported a fever after returning from Sierra Leone, where she had worked at an Ebola treatment hospital, was found not to have the disease, health officials said early today. The nurse, a 57-year-old woman who was not identified, was tested Wednesday after developing a low-grade fever on her return home to Cairns in far north Queensland from a monthlong assignment at a hospital in West Africa run by the International Red Cross.

• Spanish health authorities said Thursday that the condition of an auxiliary nurse infected by Ebola had worsened, three days after she became the first person to test positive for the disease in Europe. Altogether about 80 people are being monitored to see if they develop symptoms of Ebola as Spain seeks to prevent the virus from spreading.

— From news services


As the Ebola outbreak continues to spiral out of control in West Africa, numerous countries and agencies have pitched in to help: romises of help:

• President Barack Obama has requested $1 billion for Ebola, including the use of leftover Afghanistan war money. Top lawmakers approved $750 million after Pentagon officials said it would be enough for a six-month mission. The Pentagon has authorized sending up to 3,900 troops to set up Ebola clinics and train local staff.

• The European Commission has pledged $228 million; Australia is donating $16 million.

• The German military has started flying in supplies including protective suits; the military is expected to build a clinic for 50 patients in Liberia.

• Britain’s ministry of defense says it will send more than 750 troops to help build treatment centers and a training center in Sierra Leone. Britain is also providing three military helicopters

• A team of 165 health workers from Cuba arrived in Sierra Leonelast week to help run Ebola clinics, and several hundred more are expected in Liberia and Guinea soon.

• China is sending a 59-member lab team to Sierra Leone to join other Chinese health workers already working in the region.

• The International Monetary Fund approved $130 million in emergency aid to the three hardest-hit countries.

• The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said it would contribute $50 million to the emergency response, the group’s largest donation to a humanitarian crisis.

— Associated Press

Six U.S. military planes carrying Marines arrived in the Ebola hot zone Thursday as West Africa’s leaders pleaded for the world’s help in dealing with a crisis that one called “a tragedy unforeseen in modern times.”

“Our people are dying,” Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma lamented in a videoconference with officials at a World Bank meeting in Washington. He said other countries are not responding fast enough while children are orphaned and infected doctors and nurses are lost to the disease.

President Alpha Conde of Guinea said the region’s countries are in “a very fragile situation.” Ebola is “an international threat and deserves an international response,” he said as he sought money, medicine, equipment and training for health care workers.

Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said he was reminded of the start of the AIDS epidemic.

“We have to work now so this is not the next AIDS,” Frieden said.

The fleet of planes that landed outside the Liberian capital of Monrovia consisted of four MV-22 Ospreys and two KC-130s. The 100 Marines who arrived on the flights bring to just over 300 the total number of American troops in the country, said Maj. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, the Army officer leading the U.S. response.

Williams joined the U.S. ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac, at the airport to greet the aircraft.

Elsewhere, the world continued to ramp up its response to the epidemic. Authorities in Great Britain said they would introduce “enhanced” screening of travelers for Ebola at Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Eurostar rail terminals — a move echoing that of the United States on Wednesday, which announced it would begin checking the temperatures of arrivals from the affected countries at the five American airports they most often frequent.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said passengers arriving from West Africa would be questioned about their travels and contacts. Some people could be given a medical assessment and advice on what to do if they develop symptoms.

Also Thursday, Liberian police used batons and rattan whips to disperse 100 protesters outside the National Assembly, where lawmakers were debating granting President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf powers beyond those she assumed when a state of emergency declared in August. Her handling of the crisis has been criticized as heavy handed and ineffective.

The outbreak has killed more than 3,800 people, according to the latest World Health Organization figures. The vast majority of those deaths have been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

At the University of Maryland, researchers announced that the first study of a possible Ebola vaccine in Africa was underway. Scientists say three health care workers in Mali had received the experimental shots.

Mali has not had any cases of Ebola, but it borders the outbreak zone. Researchers say early safety tests should be done in Ebola-free countries to avoid complicating factors. If the vaccine appears to be safe, larger trials could be conducted in the outbreak zone early next year.

The U.S. military is working to build medical centers in Liberia and may send up to 4,000 soldiers to help with the Ebola crisis. Medical workers and beds for Ebola patients are sorely lacking.

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said his country would provide more than 750 troops to help build treatment centers and an Ebola “training academy” in Sierra Leone. Army medics and helicopters will provide direct support. Britain will also contribute an aviation support ship.

British troops are expected to arrive next week in Sierra Leone, where they will join military engineers and planners who have been there for nearly a month helping to build medical centers.

The German military, which has already been flying material such as protective clothing from Senegal to the worst-hit countries, plans to start a wider deployment of aid in mid-November. The military is expected to set up a clinic for 50 patients.