Britain advises against all but essential travel to Ebola-hit nations

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain warned its citizens on Thursday to avoid all but essential travel to west African countries hit by the world's worst outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. The escalation in the travel advice issued by the foreign office in regards to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia came after a British volunteer nurse working in west Africa became the first British citizen to contract the disease. On Aug. 5, British Airways announced it was suspending flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia until Aug. 31. These services have now been suspended until Dec. 31. So far 3,069 cases have been reported in the outbreak but the World Health Organisation says the actual number could already be two to four times higher. (Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Ralph Boulton)