News that the deadly Ebola virus has reached Europe gave UK travel companies a rocky ride yesterday, with share prices falling across the board.
Some of the biggest losers on the news that a nurse in Spain had been infected on EU soil were British Airways parent group IAG and cruise operator Carnival. Both companies lost out to the tune of nearly seven per cent.
The Ebola virus has so far been confined mainly to west Africa, where it has spread rapidly and killed nearly 3,500 people. There are only experimental drugs for the virus, which is caught through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.
The first case on mainland Europe not to have involved the transfer of a patient from Africa occurred earlier this week when a Spanish nurse fell ill. It is not yet clear how she contracted Ebola, but it is thought that protective clothing she was wearing to treat a priest flown back to the country from Sierra Leone failed and let the virus through.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday that further cases of Ebola across Europe were “unavoidable” due to the number of people entering the region from countries with high levels of infection. WHO regional director for Europe Zsuzsanna Jakab added that the EU remained a low risk and was well prepared for the virus.
Prime Minister David Cameron will today chair a meeting looking at how the UK can help tackle the outbreak.