West African nations
should be prepared for Ebola: WHO expert
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[June 27, 2014]
GENEVA (Reuters) - West
African nations neighboring those hit by the Ebola
epidemic - Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Guinea Bissau
- should prepare for the possible arrival of travelers
carrying the deadly virus, the World Health Organization
said on Friday.
"We want other countries in West Africa to be ready - bordering
countries, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, Guinea Bissau - to prepare
themselves in case people affected with the disease may be also
traveling," WHO medical officer Dr. Pierre Formenty told a briefing
Despite efforts by national health authorities and international aid
organizations to contain the spread of Ebola, the WHO has recorded
635 infections, including 399 deaths, in Guinea, Sierra Leone and
Liberia since the outbreak began in February.
The outbreak is already the deadliest since Ebola first emerged in
central Africa in 1976, and the number of infections continues to
Formenty said it was difficult to stop the spread of the virus in
forested areas of the three countries already affected by the
epidemic and to change people's burial practices which facilitate
He said the U.N. health agency is not considering recommending
travel or trade restrictions on the three countries, however.
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"This is not out of hand," Formenty said.
WHO's Regional Director for Africa Luis Sambo on Thursday called for
drastic action to halt what he said has turned into a cross-border
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
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