New York confirmed the first case of Ebola in the largest city in the United States as the EU dramatically ramped up aid Friday to contain the killer epidemic ravaging west Africa.
The EU announcement of one billion euros ($1.3 billion) for the worst-hit countries comes as fears of a spread of the virus grew, with the first confirmed case in Mali, where a two-year-old girl has tested positive.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), which has warned the Ebola crisis in west Africa “remains of great concern”, held talks Thursday on efforts to ensure access to and funding for potential vaccines.
The New York case is a doctor who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea, the epicenter of the world’s worst outbreak of the disease. Craig Spencer was placed in isolation at Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital Center, officials said.
With health workers in Spain and Texas already having caught Ebola from patients originally infected in west Africa, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio insisted the city was fully prepared to stop the disease in its tracks. “We want to state at the outset, [this] is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed. Ebola is an extremely hard disease to contract,” said de Blasio.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said city officials had already identified four people believed to have been in contact with the doctor, who worked for the charity Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French acronym MSF.
He said he did not expect a repeat of the situation in Dallas, where hospital staff appeared to have been caught offguard by the arrival of the disease that has killed almost 4,900 people mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
“Dallas was caught before they could really prepare. We had the advantage of learning from their experience,” Cuomo said.