Ebola ‘most serious’ health emergency in years: Western leaders

A second healthcare worker in Texas reportedly tested positive for Ebola

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The Ebola epidemic is “the most serious international public health emergency in recent years,” British, U.S., French, German and Italian leaders agreed in a conference call on Wednesday.

A 75-minute video conference call between British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and U.S. President Barack Obama focused on cooperation to fight the outbreak, a spokesman for Cameron said.

“Leaders agreed that this was the most serious international public health emergency in recent years and that the international community needed to do much more and faster to halt the rise of the disease in the region,” the prime minister's office said in a statement.

“Each leader set out what they are doing to help the countries affected and then discussions focused on how to improve coordination of the international effort.”

Cameron proposed that plans to tackle the disease could be decided at a Friday summit in Milan between European and Asian leaders and a European Council meeting next week.

The call comes after reports that a second healthcare worker in Texas in the United States tested positive for Ebola after caring for a Liberian patient who died of the virus in Dallas.

The United Nations also warned Ebola was outpacing efforts to combat the disease and said the world should dramatically expand the fight against the tropical fever, which has killed nearly 4,500 people this year, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Cameron said that he would welcome any other countries who wanted to contribute to British efforts to fight the disease in Sierra Leone, and would discuss cooperation with Italy.

The discussion identified priorities of improving coordination of international efforts, increasing spending and trained personnel working the region affected, and evacuation procedures for workers infected with the disease.

The leaders also discussed the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria and peace efforts in Ukraine.

The leaders said “the international coalition was making progress” in Iraq, but that more should be done to train local forces in Iraq and Syria to fight the group.

On the topic of Ukraine, the leaders agreed that Russia should respect a ceasefire and stop a cross-border flow of weapons and come to an energy supply agreement in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko are to meet in Milan on Friday to try to settle a disagreement over gas supplies and broker an end to months of conflict in east Ukraine.

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