World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN health agency moves to allay mounting fears over Ebola

UN health agency moves to allay mounting fears over Ebola spread

30 July 2014

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) today advised that while travellers should be aware of Ebola, they will not contract the highly-contagious, often fatal disease unless they actually touch someone who is showing active symptoms.

“So one can travel,” Gregory Hartl, WHO spokesperson on epidemic diseases said on Twitter, one of the social media sites where concerns of the spread of Ebola is generating much traffic on a day when a West African airline stopped flying to Liberia and Sierra Leone amid growing concern about the spread of the Ebola virus.

WHO has issued answers to questions about what is now being reported as the worst Ebola outbreak in history that has killed hundreds in West Africa.

WHO has also warned health workers deployed by relief organizations to strictly apply infection control measures recommended by the Geneva-UN health agency as there is currently no specific treatment to cure the disease.

“It's vital for health care workers deployed by relief and similar organizations to come fully trained, equipped to help respond to Ebola,” WHO said.

According to WHO, health workers treating patients with suspected or confirmed illness are at higher risk of infection than other groups, as demonstrated by the reports of doctors treating Ebola victims contracting the disease in West Africa.

The issue of personal safety is a concern for response teams, especially for medical workers in direct contact with patients.

“Prior to my arrival to Kenema, (Sierra Leone) I was scared about my own safety but I realized later that we can be in control of the risk,” says Dr. Mauricio Ferri, a Brazilian intensive care specialist, deployed by WHO to one of the most affected areas of Sierra Leone since the outbreak was declared in late May. “We need to strike the right balance between caring for patients and our own security.”

Dr Ferri was deployed through the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), a WHO-based network of experts and instituteions that can assist with the international response to disease outbreaks.

According to WHO, Ebola, formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever has a death rate of up to 90 per cent. The illness affects humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). The origin of the virus is unknown, but fruit bats are considered the likely host.

“Once a person comes into contact with an animal that has Ebola, it can spread within the community from human-to-human Infection occurs from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, or other bodily fluids or secretions (stool, urine, saliva, semen) of infected people,” according to WHO.

Sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat are typical signs and symptoms. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

WHO says the incubation period, or the time interval from infection to onset of symptoms, is from 2 to 21 days. The patients become contagious once they begin to show symptoms. They are not contagious during the incubation period.

“Travellers should be aware of #Ebola, and aware that if they do not touch someone who is showing active symptoms of the disease, then they cannot contract it,” Hartl told Twitter.

While there is no specific drug against Ebola, WHO says the best treatment is intensive supportive treatment provided in the hospital by health workers using strict infection control procedures.

As for airlines banning flights to countries of origin, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 36-member Council, said his agency works very closely with WHO in the area of travel advisories to prevent the transfer of communicable diseases.

Dr. Aliu said “sometimes Member States may decide to apply their own rules to protect their own nationals” but ICAO would advise its member states based on guidelines and advice it receives from WHO, he said.

WHO actions include: disease surveillance and information-sharing across regions to watch for outbreaks; technical assistance to investigate and contain health threats when they occur; advice on prevention and treatment options; deployments of experts and health supplies such as personal protection gear for health workers when they are requested by the country, as well as communication to raise awareness of the nature of the disease and protective health measures to control transmission of the virus.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ban To Take Up Fight Against Ebola With All UN Organisations

Street sellers at Waterside market in central Monrovia, where there has seen a huge drop in customers over the past months due to the onset of the Ebola Virus Disease. Photo: UNDP/Carly Learson (20 November 2014) More>>

ALSO:

Darfur: UN-Backed Event Promotes Role Of Women In Peace

Darfur: amid mass rape allegations, UN-backed event promotes role of women in peace processes More>>

Ebola Cases No Longer Rising In Guinea And Liberia

In Conakry, Guinea, a mobilizer teaches children about proper handwashing techniques, which help prevent the spread of diseases, including Ebola. Photo: UNICEF/Timothy La Rose More>>

ALSO:

UN: Alleged Mass Rape In North Darfur

UNAMID commanders from Rwanda and Ethiopia exhange duties in Tabit, North Darfur, to escort a convoy of World Food Programme (WFP) trucks travelling from El Fasher to Shangil Tobaya. Photo: UNAMID/Albert González Farran More>>


Illegal Fishermen Encroach On World’s Most Isolated Tribe

Due to their isolation the Sentinelese of India's Andaman Islands are the most vulnerable society on the planet. They face increasing threats from illegal fishermen who are targeting their waters. More>>

World War: Nearly 1,000 Dead Amid Shaky Ukraine Ceasefire

In latest report, UN rights office says nearly 1,000 dead amid shaky Ukraine ceasefire More>>

ALSO:

Palestinian Activists Cross Apartheid Wall

Friday morning around 50 Palestinian and international activists used makeshift bridges to cross the Apartheid wall between Qalandiya and Northern Jerusalem. This non-violent direct action was in response to the restrictions Israel had placed on Palestinian ... More>>

Police And Crime: FBI Warns Ferguson Decision ‘Will Likely’ Lead To Violence

As the nation waits to hear whether a Missouri police officer will face charges for killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson , Mo., the FBI is warning law enforcement agencies across the country that the decision “will likely” lead ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news