Ebola Death Toll Nears 1,000 As Drug Talks Held

As the death toll from the ebola virus nears 1,000, the World Health Organisation has held a meeting to discuss the ethics of using experimental drugs.

The West African countries ravaged by the disease have been gripped by panic, with radical containment measures causing transport problems, price rises and shortages of food.

Experts from around the world joined the WHO-hosted talks on Monday to draft guidelines for using non-authorised medicines in emergencies such as ebola.

It comes as eight Chinese medical workers who treated patients suffering from the deadly virus in Sierra Leone were placed in quarantine.

Doctors in Spain have imported a US-made experimental drug to treat a priest there recently evacuated from Liberia after he tested positive for ebola.

The ZMapp drug, which has been tested on monkeys but only recently used on humans, was imported from Geneva over the weekend to treat 75-year-old Miguel Pajares.

The drug, which has reportedly showed promising results, is also being tested on two Americans infected with the disease.

There is currently no available vaccine for ebola, and with the death toll fast approaching 1,000, there are demands that ZMapp be made available in Africa, where Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been hardest hit.

The latest outbreak of ebola has killed around 55-60% of those infected.

But a British hygiene expert working with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has told Sky News the statistics do not reveal the true picture of how serious the situation is.

Cokie van der Velde, who has worked with MSF for 12 years, said: "What we need is more agencies to come forward working in these countries to reverse this epidemic.

"The numbers of dead and infected don't show the real situation. There are deaths in villages and all over [Liberia] which are not being recorded."

Meanwhile, the Ivory Coast has banned all incoming flights from countries hit by ebola.

And a 10th case has been confirmed in Nigeria. All of the victims had contact with a man who flew into the country with the disease.

In Rwanda, health officials have isolated a German student with ebola-like symptoms pending tests which will reveal whether he has been infected.

Liberia, where Ebola has already claimed over almost 370 lives, has placed a third province, Lofa, under quarantine.

It comes as a former AC Milan footballer and one-time Liberia presidential candidate George Weah has released a record to raise awareness about the virus.

Proceeds from the song - which includes the lyrics, "Let us all arise and come together to fight ebola; ebola is real" - will be used to fight the spread of the disease.