‘Low risk’ of Ebola in the EU - Borg


Brussels -

The European Union’s executive said on Friday that the risk of Ebola across the EU remained “extremely low” despite the World Health Organisation's decision to declare it an international health emergency.

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Medical staff working with Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) prepare to bring food to patients kept in an isolation area at the MSF Ebola treatment centre in Kailahun, Sierra Leone. Picture: Tommy Trenchard

“I want to reassure citizens that the risk from Ebola to EU territories is extremely low,” said Health Commissioner Tonio Borg.

“This is both because relatively few people travelling to the EU are likely to be infected with the virus, and because of the way in which it spreads, that is only through direct contact with the symptomatic patient's body fluids.

“It is also important to consider that the EU has very high standards of health and preventive care,” he said in a statement.

The WHO decision after a two-day emergency session means global travel restrictions may be put in place to halt Ebola’s spread as the overall death toll nears 1 000.

US health authorities said this week that Ebola's spread beyond West Africa was “inevitable” as medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned that the deadly virus was now “out of control” with more than 60 outbreak hotspots.

In the EU, a Spanish national who contracted the virus in Liberia was repatriated to receive health care.

Spain flew home the 75-year-old Roman Catholic priest, Miguel Pajares, the first European victim of the epidemic, on Thursday. Officials said his condition was stable.

Two infected Americans who worked for Christian aid agencies in Liberia have shown signs of improvement since being flown to a specialist hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. They are being given an experimental drug. - Sapa-AFP

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