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US President describes Ebola outbreak as global security threat

US President, Barack Obama has called the West Africa Ebola outbreak a threat to global security as he announced a larger US role in fighting the virus.

President Obama said the world is looking to the United States, but added the outbreak required a global response.

The measures announced included ordering 3,000 US troops to the region and building new healthcare facilities.

Ebola has killed 2,461 people this year, about half of those infected, the World Health Organization said.

The announcement comes as UN officials have called the outbreak a health crisis unparalleled in modern times.

The spread of the disease means the funds needed to fight the outbreak have increased 10-fold in the past month, the UN’s Ebola co-ordinator said, saying it needs $1bn to fight the outbreak.

Ebola only spreads in close contact but there is no cure and no vaccine. The outbreak began in Guinea before spreading to its neighbours Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Mr Obama said the outbreak had reached epidemic proportions in West Africa, as the disease completely overwhelmed hospitals and clinics and people were literally dying on the streets.

He called on other countries to step up their response, as a worsening outbreak would lead to profound political, economic and security implications for all.

Earlier on Tuesday, the WHO welcomed China’s pledge to send a mobile laboratory team to Sierra Leone, which will include epidemiologists, clinicians and nurses.

WHO head Margaret Chan said in the statement that the most urgent immediate need in the Ebola response is for more medical staff.

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