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WHO is against ban on international trips to Ebola-affected countries

October 24, 2014, 1:32 UTC+3 GENEVA
“Previous recommendations regarding the travel of EVD cases and contacts should continue to be implemented,” the statement said
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© ITAR-TASS/EPA /DANIEL IRUNGU, file

GENEVA, October 23. /TASS/. The World Health Organization (WHO) does not think it is necessary to impose a ban on international trips and trade with countries affected by the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak, experts of the WHO Emergency Committee concluded Thursday after Wednesday’s meeting of the committee.

“The Committee reiterated its recommendation that there should be no general ban on international travel or trade. A general travel ban is likely to cause economic hardship, and could consequently increase the uncontrolled migration of people from affected countries, raising the risk of international spread of Ebola,” the WHO said.

“The Committee emphasized the importance of normalizing air travel and the movement of ships, including the handling of cargo and goods, to and from the affected areas, to reduce the isolation and economic hardship of the affected countries. Any necessary medical treatment should be available ashore for seafarers and passengers,” it said.

“Previous recommendations regarding the travel of EVD cases and contacts should continue to be implemented,” the statement said.

At the same time, WHO experts underlined that “exit screening in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone remains critical for reducing the exportation of Ebola cases.”

“States should maintain and reinforce high-quality exit screening of all persons at international airports, seaport, and major land crossings, for unexplained febrile illness consistent with potential Ebola infection,” the statement said.

The global health body said Wednesday the number of people infected with the Ebola virus has neared 10,000, and about 5,000 have died from the disease since the outbreak started in December 2013.

The Ebola virus disease, previously known as the Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe illness in humans, often fatal, according to the WHO. The virus is passed on to people from wild animals and can be transmitted from humans to humans. The average EVD case death rate is some 50%

The first outbreaks of the EVD occurred in remote Central African villages, near tropical rainforests. However, major urban and rural areas have been involved in the most recent outbreak in western Africa.

Early supportive care, which includes rehydration and symptomatic treatment, improves the survival rate.

No licensed treatment has yet been proven to be able to neutralize the virus but a number of blood, immunological and drug medications are under development. There are no licensed Ebola vaccines yet but two candidates are being evaluated.

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