Canada pulling Ebola lab team from Sierra Leone

by Rob Gillies

Canada is evacuating a three-member mobile laboratory team from Sierra Leone after people in their hotel were diagnosed with Ebola. The World Health Organization earlier announced it is pulling a team out of the country.

The Public Agency of Canada said in a statement late Tuesday none of the team members had any direct contact with the sick individuals and they are not showing any signs of illness. They will remain in voluntary isolation and be monitored closely.

The laboratory team was helping to control the outbreak there by helping health care workers diagnose and rule out infections. The agency did not say what city the team was in.

Canada said it will send in another team once it is deemed safe. Canada has been rotating three teams of scientists in out and out of West Africa.

The World Health Organization said earlier Tuesday is pulling out its team from the eastern Sierra Leonean city of Kailahun, where an epidemiologist working with the organization was recently infected. Daniel Kertesz, the organization's representative in the country, said that the was exhausted and that the added stress of a colleague getting sick could increase the risk of mistakes.

The disease has overwhelmed the already shaky health systems in some of the world's poorest countries.

The outbreak has killed more than 1,400 people in West Africa. There is no proven treatment for Ebola, so health workers primarily focus on isolating the sick. According to WHO, the Ebola outbreak has killed more than half of the more than 2,600 people sickened. The U.N. agency said an unprecedented 240 have been infected.

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