In Brief

Ebola: two children being tested for virus in Newcastle

Children tested in Infectious Diseases Isolation Unit after showing viral symptoms on return from Africa

Two children are being tested for Ebola at an infectious diseases unit in Newcastle after arriving in the UK from Africa.

Both were said to be showing viral symptoms, although it is has not been confirmed that they had been to one of the affected countries.

The outbreak in West Africa has killed almost 5,700 people in in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The two children are being tested at the Infectious Diseases Isolation Unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, with results expected later today.

The unit is one of three outside London that has been prepared to care for Ebola patients or those with other high-risk illnesses. The other units are in Liverpool and Sheffield.

Staff from the Royal Victoria Infirmary took part in national drills to prepare for Ebola earlier this year and have been on alert to deal with any British cases.

Newcastle-on-Tyne's local newspaper, the Evening Chronicle, says plans were in place for staff to work on rotation on a one-to-one basis with a patient over 24 hours in order to strictly adhere to procedure protocol.

Dr Anjam Khan, senior lecturer at the Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences at Newcastle University, told the newspaper that people living in the region would have nothing to fear if Ebola patients were treated in the area.

Public Health England has not confirmed which country the children had travelled to but said they were also being screened for malaria.

A spokesperson for Public Health England in the North East said it is "unlikely" they are infected and were being tested as a precaution, reports The Guardian.

"Due to uncertainty about where in Africa the children are from and when they arrived in the UK, as a precaution the children are being tested for Ebola and malaria," he said.

"However, the clinical and PHE risk assessment is that Ebola is unlikely. People who have been in contact with the children have been advised to continue as normal."

Ebola in depth: full coverage of the outbreak

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