* Tekmira says may make more experimental Ebola drug
* Moody's says Ebola to impact economic growth
* Passenger numbers down at Ivory Coast's main airport
By Saliou Samb
CONAKRY, Aug 14 Guinea has declared a public
health emergency over an Ebola epidemic that has killed more
than 1,000 people in three West African states and is sending
health workers to all affected border points, a government
An estimated 377 people have died in Guinea since the
world's worst outbreak of Ebola began in March in remote parts
of a border region next to Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Guinea says its outbreak is under control with the numbers
of new cases falling, but that the new measures are needed to
prevent further infection from the other countries at the centre
of the epidemic.
"Trucks full of health materials and carrying health
personnel are going to all the border points with Liberia and
Sierra Leone," Aboubacar Sidiki Diakité, president of Guinea's
Ebola commission, said late on Wednesday.
As many as 3,000 people are waiting at 17 border points for
a green light to enter the country, he said.
"Any who are sick will be immediately isolated. People will
be followed up on. We can't take the risk of letting everyone
through without checks," he said.
Sierra Leone has declared Ebola a national emergency as has
Liberia, which is hoping that two of its doctors diagnosed with
Ebola can start treatment on Thursday with some of the limited
supply of experimental drug ZMapp.
Canada's Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp is also
exploring the possibility of making more of its experimental
Ebola treatment, Chief Executive Officer Mark Murray said.
Nigeria, which has also declared a national emergency, on
Thursday said it had 11 cases of Ebola after a doctor who
treated a Liberian man who brought the disease to Lagos fell
Health experts say the responses of governments to the
contagious haemorrhagic disease need to be calibrated to prevent
its spread while avoiding measures that could induce panic or
damage economies unnecessarily.
The task is made more difficult because the capacity of
health services in the three main countries has been stretched
to breaking point and mistrust of health workers among some
rural communities is high.
In addition, 170 healthcare workers have been infected with
Ebola and at least 81 have died among the overall toll of 1,069
people dead, according to the World Health Organisation. Three
of the dead are in Nigeria.
One of the deadliest diseases known to man, Ebola kills the
majority of those infected. Its symptoms include internal and
external bleeding, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Ebola also threatens significant economic ramifications for
some West African states as disruption to commerce, transport
and borders lasts at least another month, said Matt Robinson, a
vice president at Moody's ratings agency.
Sierra Leone's economic growth would slow from the 16
percent rate recorded in 2013 if mining sector production is
affected, he said, adding a significant increase in expenditure
on health in the three main countries is likely.
There is also "an indirect effect arising from an
Ebola-induced economic slowdown on government revenue generation
in a region where budgets are already hindered by low tax
collection," he said.
Among the signs of the regional economic impact, Ivory Coast
will not allow any ships from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia
to enter its port at Abidjan, according to a port statement.
"Anybody presenting symptoms similar to Ebola on board a
ship must be made known to port authorities," it said.
Fewer passengers are arriving at Ivory Coast's main airport
from Freetown, Conakry and Monrovia because of the virus leading
to a shortfall of about 4,000 passengers a month, Abdoulaye
Coulibaly, chairman of Air Cote d'Ivoire, told Reuters.
Ivory Coast and its eastern neighbour Ghana have recorded no
cases of Ebola. Ghana's government said it would step up its
funding for preventative health and ban the holding of
international conferences for three months as a precaution.
Further afield, Korean Air Lines Co Ltd said it
will suspend flights to and from Nairobi, Kenya, from Aug. 20 to
prevent the spread of the virus.
Malaysian firm Sime Darby said it has relocated expatriate
workers at its Liberian oil palm plantation and limited employee
movement because of the outbreak.
"The company's routine estate operations are continuing
under the supervision of local managers. However, tasks that
require technical knowledge of expatriates such as mill
construction and planting, have been affected," a spokesman
(Additional reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Anuradha Raghu
in Kuala Lumpur, Emma Farge in Dakar, Se Young Lee in Seoul,
Loucoumane Coulibaly in Abidjan and Clair MacDougall in
Monrovia; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Janet