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Ebola virus can hardly create a problem for Russia — experts

October 10, 2014, 12:36 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russia has no direct flights with African countries hit by the deadly disease and all the preventive measures are being taken, according to epidemiologists
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© EPA/AHMED JALLANZO

MOSCOW, October 10. /TASS/. No serious reasons exist that Ebola fever will create a problem for Russia, deputy director of the Scientific-Research Institute of Epidemiology Academician Vadim Pokrovsky told TASS on Friday.

The laboratory of biological and socio-technical system modelling at the Boston Northeastern University was reported on Thursday to calculate the probability of Ebola delivery to Russia. “This estimation is out of place in epidemiology, only the percentage of risk can be calculated,” the academician said.

“But we should say about real issues, we do not have direct flights with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, therefore, this is quite low probability that an Ebola-infected person without disease symptoms will come to us, if he has some disease symptoms this can be found,” he noted. “If the situation starts to become looming, we can take quarantine measures, and people coming from Ebola-affected territories can be brought to a sanatorium for 21 days of medical observation,” Pokrovsky said, adding that “This is certainly costly, but cheaper than possible infection delivery.”

As for Ebola cases brought to European countries, Australia and the United States the academician noted that the infection cannot be delivered to Russia from these countries. “Spain is a big country, but one hospital is in view. If probably a Russian doctor would have worked there and could have got in touch with these patients in some way, it would be very easy to find such a person and send him to quarantine,” the academician pledged. Pokrovsky also recalled that all students coming to Russia from Ebola-infected countries were being kept under medical control and lived separately.

As far as Russia's epidemic control service is concerned, the level is rather high not to allow spread of the Ebola virus in the country, a member of the Public Chamber, head of the state-run Otorhinolaryngology Center Nikolay Daikhes said on Friday.

“After the discussions I had with colleagues, I realize the situation in the country is under control. The staff is ready, protective measures are in place. As for our epidemic control service, its level is rather high, and it has demonstrated its success many times already. Its work was structured in the Soviet times, where it was considered to be among the best in the world, and the level remains as such,” the Public Chamber’s press service quoted the scientist as saying.

“In this country, we have seen cases, where rather serious infections were spreading, but they were neutralized immediately,” he said.

An Ebola outbreak is impossible in Russia, agreed the head of the Russian public health control service (Rospotrebnadzor) Anna Popova.

“Today we are absolutely sure and can say it: we have no conditions for spread of the virus inside the country, no natural or any other,” she told TASS on Friday, adding “The measures that are being taken are quite sufficient to prevent an outbreak.”

An outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) was reported first in Guinea in February 2014. Later, the virus spread to neighbouring Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. In late August, it reached Congo and Senegal. EVD cases have been also reported in the United States and Europe. Almost 4,000 people have died, and about 8,000 have been infected as of today. The World Health Organization said lethal cases accounted for up to 70%.

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