An Ebola outbreak was confirmed in Guinea in March 2014 and quickly spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Ebola haemorrhagic fever is a rare but severe disease caused by the Ebola virus. Like HIV, Ebola is highly transmissible by direct contact with organs or bodily fluids of living or dead infected persons and animals.
The UK government is closely monitoring the outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. This is the largest outbreak of the Ebola virus since first seen in 1976 and there are no reports of British citizens being infected.
Following a meeting of government committee COBR, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:
We’ve looked at how we are co-ordinating with our French and American colleagues under the World Health Organisation; we’ve considered what additional measures the UK could take to help control the outbreak in West Africa; and we’ve also looked at what measures we need to put in place on a precautionary basis in case any UK nationals in West Africa should become affected by the disease.
We do not, at the moment, think this is an issue that affects the UK directly.