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WHO declares Ebola outbreak health emergency

By Metro Reporter
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared on Friday that the Ebola outbreak raging in West Africa constitutes an international public health emergency.

After two emergency committee tele-conferences convened by the WHO's Director-General Margaret Chan under the International Health Regulations, the committee advised that the Ebola outbreak constitutes an "extraordinary event" and a public health risk to other states.
The committee warned that the possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence of the virus, the intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the weak health systems in the currently affected and most at-risk countries.
It urged a coordinated international response to stop and reverse the international spread of the virus.
The largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded began in Guinea in December 2013, and now involves transmission in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.
Statistics from the WHO showed that as of Aug. 4, 1,711 cases have been reported, including 932 deaths.
The WHO will convene a panel of experts in medical ethics early next week to explore the use of experimental treatment in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Meanwhile,  Rwanda's government has dismissed the rumor that people suspected of carrying Ebola virus have been detected at Kigali International airport.
"I would like to inform you that there are no Ebola cases reported or suspected at this time in Rwanda. Any confirmed Ebola case in Rwanda will be investigated on time," Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda minister of health said.
The health ministry said earlier that the public will be informed in case of Ebola outbreak.
"The ministry of health is closely monitoring the situation and several preventive measures have been established including raising awareness among the travelers, flight attendants, staff at airports and border posts. Educating and sensitizing the general population on prevention, symptoms and mode of transmission of Ebola," said the statement.
The statement said that health workers have been trained and remained vigilant, which will enable timely detection, notification and appropriate management of any suspected cases.
At least 932 people have died in the worst Ebola outbreak in the West Africa's history, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.
Also, Kenya Airways will continue flying to and from Liberia and other West Africa destinations despite the outbreak of a deadly Ebola epidemic in the region.
The national carrier cited assessments by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), both of which downplayed the possible spread of the Ebola virus through air travel.
"Arising from the unfortunate Ebola outbreak in parts of West Africa, we wish to provide the following detailed update while confirming that, Kenya Airways is still flying to and from several destinations in that region," a statement from outgoing chief executive Titus Naikuni said.
"According to information availed to us from IATA and collaborated by local experts, the WHO, current risk assessment for the spread of Ebola by air travel and transport is minimal and hence not recommending any travel restrictions or the closure of borders at points of entry.
"Withdrawing our flights to these key destinations given the safeguards already placed by the respective governments and global health authorities would amount to a corporate placement of unnecessary travel advisory," the statement added.
And in Uganda, Health ministry officials have placed a man suspected of suffering from the deadly haemorrhagic fever—Ebola—in isolation at Entebbe Grade B Hospital isolation wing.
The Director General of Health Services at the ministry, Dr Jane Aceng, said the suspect, who is a Sudanese clinical officer, was identified during a screening exercise on Wednesday at Entebbe Airport where he had arrived aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight.
The suspect has been working with the International Organisation for Migrants in South Sudan and had been referred to Kampala for treatment after he exhibited symptoms of Hepatitis B disease.
But according to Dr Aceng, when the man was screened, his symptoms pointed more towards Ebola.
“He had a fever, headache, red eyes and general weakness – all symptoms that qualify one as an Ebola suspect,” she said.
Dr Aceng said the results of the tests, which are being done at the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe, are expected today and that if they turned out negative, the suspect would be let free.
She added that there was no cause for alarm since the suspect came from South Sudan, which has not had any case of Ebola recently.
“We are isolating anybody who has signs. If his results show that he is negative, we will let him go,” Dr Aceng said.


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