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People escaping from Ebola quarantine zones hinder world efforts to stop epidemic

October 10, 2014, 15:15 UTC+3 St.PETERSBURG

Despite world efforts to render assistance to the countries which have suffered from the Ebola epidemic the situation has taken an unwanted turn

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© AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh

St.PETERSBURG, October 10. /TASS/. People infected with the Ebola virus but who have escaped from quarantine zones, and the violation of sanitary and hygienic norms by the local population with careless mentality and life style hinder world efforts to liquidate the Ebola epidemic quickly, Director of the St.Petersburg Pasteur Scientific Research Institute Anatoly Zherbun told TASS.

"Despite world efforts to render assistance to the countries which have suffered from the Ebola epidemic the situation has taken an unwanted turn,” he said. “A team of doctors from Russia has been working in Guinea, and considerable assistance to fight the epidemic has been rendered by France and other countries of Europe,” Zherbun said.

"It is not only the population of Africa infected with Ebola, but many other people who happened to be in the zone of the epidemic, are attempting to break through sanitary cordons,” the expert said. He reminded of cholera epidemics in Russia and in Europe in the 19th century when cholera mutinies were staged, and sick people broke all barriers and sanitary cordons and even attacked doctors. The situation in Africa is approximately the same," Zherbun said.

In his commentary on a forecast made by a laboratory of Boston North-East University, that predicted that a chance of the Ebola virus reaching Russia might grow fivefold after October 24, Zherbun said: "There is a big multitude of prognoses made on numerous cases, but they do not always conform to the reality. Russia has taken all the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the virus," Zherbun said.

"The virus is not transmitted by air; one might get infected during direct contacts with a sick person, his things or an infected animal. There are two ways of bringing the Ebola virus to Russia: by flights with a connection to Russia because there are no direct flights to Russia from the countries affected by the epidemic; the other way is bananas delivered to Russia from Africa," Zherbun said, adding that a banana might be infected only if bit by a sick man or animal.

Since the epidemic broke out the Ebola fever has claimed over 3,800 lives, and over 8,000 more were infected, WHO said in a recent report.

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