Risk of Ebola spreading reducing

2015-04-10 18:59
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Geneva - West Africa's Ebola epidemic still poses a threat to other countries, but the risk of it spreading internationally appears to be diminishing, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

The UN agency declared in August 2014 that the world's worst Ebola outbreak - which began in December 2013 - represented a "public health emergency of international concern" that forced all health officials to shore up defences.

The WHO's Emergency Committee, comprising independent experts who held talks on Thursday, was "absolutely firm" in maintaining that view, said Dr Bruce Aylward, WHO Special Representative for the Ebola Response.

"They did note, however, that they believe the risk of international spread appeared to be reducing, this was a result of the work being done in the countries," Aylward told a news briefing at WHO headquarters. He cited control measures and exit screening of travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Thirty confirmed cases of Ebola were reported in the past week, the smallest number in nearly a year, the WHO said on Wednesday. Liberia reported no cases in the week to April 5, Sierra Leone reported nine and Guinea 21.

"Countries are very much on track of where they want to be ahead of the rainy season," Aylward said, speaking after his return from the region. "That is very good news in terms of operations and ability to get this thing finished despite the onset of the rainy season, which is probably a month away."

The Emergency Committee experts also strongly recommended that all countries "avoid any unnecessary interference with international trade and transport," Aylward said.

These included border closures, flight cancellations and quarantining of travellers returning from the region, he said.

Read more on:    who  |  ebola

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