World steps up Ebola action as infections soar

Europe said Thursday it will review how passengers leaving Ebola-hit African countries are screened for infection, as it seeks to contain the escalating spread of a virus recognised as the worst global health emergency in years.

Geneva: Europe said Thursday it will review how passengers leaving Ebola-hit African countries are screened for infection, as it seeks to contain the escalating spread of a virus recognised as the worst global health emergency in years.

The World Health Organisation also said it was ramping up its efforts to help 15 African countries defend themselves against the virus -- one of the deadliest known to man.

The European Commission "will immediately undertake an audit of exit screening systems in place in the affected countries... To check their effectiveness and reinforce them as necessary," the bloc's health commissioner, Tonio Borg, said.

EU health ministers meeting in Brussels also agreed to coordinate measures at entry points to the European Union, although any decision on screening for Ebola rests with individual European countries.

The review of the exit screening in the hardest-hit countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone will be conducted in coordination with the WHO, Borg said.

A string of health workers have been evacuated back to Europe from Africa with Ebola, but the only recorded case of transmission on the continent so far is a Spanish nurse in Madrid.

As of Sunday, 4,493 people had died out of a total of 8,997 cases in the outbreak, according to WHO.

The hemorrhagic virus has ravaged the three west African countries since the start of the year, and outside the region, cases have begun surfacing in the United States and Spain.

WHO has warned that the infection rate could reach 10,000 a week by early December in a worst-case scenario.

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday called on the world to do more, while insisting his own country would be "much more aggressive" in its response, after a second Texas hospital worker tested positive for the disease.

The alarming fact that the infected Dallas caregiver took a domestic flight the day before she was quarantined magnified global fears about air travel.

Obama tried to ease those fears, but urged his counterparts from Britain, France, Germany and Italy to better coordinate their plans to combat the outbreak.

"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," British Prime Minister David Cameron's office said.

Africa also needs to raise its game in the fight against Ebola, a top official there said.

"We have to do more as a continent to mobilise human resources," said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, head of the African Union Commission.