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Ebola sparks economic contagion

Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 02:12

African countries with Ebola are suffering financially. But as Sonia Legg reports, there are now signs that economic contagion is starting to spread to other parts of the continent - even those miles from the outbreak.

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A South African woman travelling home from Morocco has been detained in Nigeria. Authorities at Lagos airport believe she may have Ebola. Professor Aileen Marty works for Nigeria's Health authority. It's introduced Ebola screening at all ports, using infra-red temperature scans. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROFESSOR OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES AT FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, AILEEN MARTY, SAYING: "She has a number of symptoms including nausea and vomiting and diarrhoea as well as having worked in an area for months since April that has very high level of Ebola which makes her a suspect case of Ebola. Nigerians are very very interested in ensuring that no one else ever enters with Ebola that isn't you know taking into isolation and properly treated nor that they exit Nigeria." The Ebola outbreak was first identified in Guinea in March. It's since spread across much of Liberia and Sierra Leone. And cases have also been registered in Senegal, as well as Nigeria. The World Health Organisation says more than 2,100 people have died and weak government health systems are failing to get a grip on the disease. And that's proving a problem elsewhere. Ebola may be largely confined to a handful of countries in the west. But the whole of the continent is suffering the stigma of the disease. Korean Air Lines has suspended flights to Nairobi which is more than 3,300 kilometres from the nearest outbreak. And South African Airways has reportedly complained of cancelled bookings from Asia, North America and Latin America - despite being even further away. A weak currency and the approach of summer should be attracting foreigners to South Africa - instead trips are reportedly being cancelled The WHO says it will take $600 million and many months to bring Ebola under control. It also forecasts as many as 20,000 cases. But that doesn't mean the whole of Africa should become a no-go zone. And tourism industry officials in South Africa - where the economy is already weak - are now trying to educate overseas tour operators about the reality of the situation.

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Ebola sparks economic contagion

Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 02:12