Wednesday, October 08, 2014

WHO: Statement On The Risks Of Ebola `Spreading’ In Europe



# 9160


Sometimes, it is just easier to wait for the clarification that you know will be coming, than to blog a hyperbolic news story when it first appears. 


On Tuesday headlines screamed - More cases of Ebola spreading in Europe 'unavoidable', WHO says - after comments by Zsuzsanna Jakab, Regional Director of the European Region of the World Health Organization, were carried by the wire services.


Although Director Jakab added the continent should be well prepared to control any outbreaks that might occur, that wasn’t the thrust for the headlines that followed, which included:


Ebola will spread across Europe, warns WHO chief Zsuzsanna Jakab

Ebola unavoidable in Europe, says WHO as Spain rushes to contain case


Of course, it is likely inevitable that additional cases will present in Europe, North America, and around the world.  But the risks of it `spreading across Europe’ – as suggested by these headlines – are currently very low.

Today the World Health Organization emailed out the following statement:


Statement by Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe

Risk of Ebola spreading in Europe is very low

Sporadic cases of Ebola virus disease in Europe are unavoidable. This is due to travel between Europe and affected countries.

However, the risk of spread of Ebola in Europe is avoidable and extremely low. European countries are among the best prepared in the world to respond to viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF) including Ebola.

There is a risk of accidental contamination for people exposed to Ebola patients: this risk can be and must be mitigated with strict infection control measures. Health care workers are on the frontline of the Ebola fight and they are those most at risk of infection. They need to be protected and supported by all means.

All countries have protocols and procedures that must be implemented when a case is suspected and it is important that these are followed diligently. WHO is, as always, ready to provide help and support where requested.

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