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Russian virologist says Ebola situation in West Africa is worrying

August 03, 2014, 22:00 UTC+3 RABAT
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RABAT, August 03, /ITAR-TASS/. The Ebola situation in West Africa is worrying as the disease may spread beyond its current limits, world-acclaimed Russian virologist Viktor Maleyev told Itar-Tass on Sunday.

“The situation about the Ebola epidemics in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia is very worrying, there is a risk of the infection’s further expansion,” said Maleyev, who works at the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Russia’s consumer rights protection authority. “But we should nit panic, we must do something not to let the infections to run out of the borders of these countries.”

Maleyev was seconded to Guinea by the Russian health ministry and the consumer rights protection watchdog to help local medics handle the Ebola situation. Maleyev and another expert, Professor Mikhail Shchelkanov of the Ivanovsky Research Institute of VirologyHe arrived in the Guinean capital city Conakry on Saturday. Both specialists, according to the Russian health ministry, have experience in tracing the causes of viral epidemics and outbreaks.

“We have arrived in Guinea on the initiative of the Russian side to see the situation by ourselves,” Maleyev said. “We are tasked to see what can be done and how to help local medics, as well as to take measures to prevent Ebola cases among Russians living in Guinea.”

He said he and his colleague planned to “scrutinize the situation, to visit local medical establishments to see what is being done and how efficient these measures are.” “It is vital to help Guinea stop the epidemics as soon as possible,” he stressed.

The Russian experts are expected to stay in Guinea till August 11.

Ebola fever broke out in Guinea in March and now it is spreading on other countries in West Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the death toll from Ebola disease in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia has exceeded 730. Since the start of the outbreak, more than 1,300 people have been infected. Local medics and humanitarian organizations active in African countries say they are losing control over the situation due to the lack of medical personnel, medicines and equipment. The WHO said it had commissioned more than 120 of its specialists to West Africa.

The World Health Organization describes Ebola virus disease (formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever) as “a severe, often fatal illness, with a case fatality rate of up to 90%.” The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people. There is no known cure or vaccine for the disease. The only treatment offered is “supportive intensive care.” During an outbreak, those at higher risk of infection are health workers, family members and others in close contact with sick people and deceased patients.

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