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

 

Gordon Campbell: On How Obama’s Supreme Court Choice Says Everything (Bad) About His Presidency

Nothing has epitomised the presidency of Barack Obama quite like his Supreme Court nominees. Time and again, Republican presidents will blithely nominate right wing ideological extremists (Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas) who only sometimes misfire and turn out to be liberals in disguise (David Souter). Yet Obama has consistently skipped over the judicially qualified liberals and gone for a succession of centrists... More>>

ALSO:

Turkey: UN Secretary-General On The Terrorist Bombing In Ankara

The Secretary-General condemns the terrorist attack in Ankara earlier today. According to the latest reports, the explosion in the Kizilay district killed and wounded dozens of people. More>>

ALSO:

Five Years On: Fukushima And New Zealand

Science Media Centre: It was the worst nuclear event since Chernobyl. In the wake of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, a crippled Japanese nuclear powerplant went into meltdown, and the world watched as emergency workers scrambled to shut down and contain the reactors. More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF: 1 In 3 Syrian Children Has Grown Up Knowing Only Crisis

An estimated 3.7 million Syrian children – 1 in 3 of all Syrian children - have been born since the conflict began five years ago, their lives shaped by violence, fear and displacement, according to a UNICEF report. This figure includes more than 151,000 children born as refugees since 2011. More>>

ALSO:

Franklin Lamb: Syria’s Truce Bodes Well For Salvaging Our Cultural Heritage

The tentative cessation of hostilities in Syria, which came into effect on 2/28/2016, brokered by Washington and Moscow, is only in its second week... It is well documented that there have been daily incidents of artillery shelling, airstrikes and clashes. Yet, for the nearly 12 million displaced civilians, half of Syria’s population, it’s a much welcomed respite. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Rubio’s Last Stand (And Sleater-Kinney)

Well, it certainly was entertaining to watch Rubio succeed in getting under Donald Trump’s skin the other day, in the last debate before tomorrow’s Super Tuesday multi-state sweepstakes... The real killer for Rubio was that the most recent poll from Florida which shows him losing his home state to Trump by a huge margin in the primary due on March 15. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news