THE Scottish Government has pledged £500,000 of emergency funding to help combat the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The cash will support local and international efforts to control the epidemic and prevent further spread of the disease, which has killed 1,350 people this year.
Public health minister Michael Matheson said: "We are committed to aiding the global response to this devastating outbreak in West Africa.
"We know that Ebola has an extremely high fatality rate and this makes it essential to speed up and co-ordinate the response in affected communities and ensure humanitarian needs are met.
"This funding will support the mobilisation of additional resources and efforts of local teams in bringing the outbreak under control, as well as providing much needed aid for the people affected by the outbreak."
The money will be released to the World Health Organisation, International Rescue Committee and UNICEF. It has been earmarked to support efforts to speed up specialist care, improve monitoring and tracking of the disease and deliver resources such as emergency kits, clean blankets, hygiene and sanitising equipment.
The epidemic has so far been reported in four countries, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. In total, there have been almost 2,500 cases with a fatality rate in the region of 55 per cent. According to the World Health Organisation, it is the largest recorded outbreak in terms of cases, deaths and geographical coverage.
South Africa has moved to ban travellers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from entering the country, other than its own citizens who will instead be subjected to a stricter screening process. Travellers from Nigeria have not been banned, as the outbreak is less prominent there.
Meanwhile, an American doctor who contracted the virus while treating victims in Liberia has recovered, it has been announced.
Dr Kent Brantly was due to be discharged from hospital in Atlanta yesterday after he was treated with an experimental drug, known as ZMapp. The 33-year-old was treated at Emory University Hospital along with missionary Nancy Writebol, 59. A senior health official in Togo said yesterday that two suspected cases, including a sailor from the Philippines, were being tested for the virus.