News / Africa

WHO Warns West Africa Countries of Ebola Spread

Ebola cases in West Africa, June 2014
Ebola cases in West Africa, June 2014
VOA News

The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning West African nations neighboring those hit by the Ebola epidemic to prepare for the possible arrival of travelers infected with the deadly virus.

At a news conference in Geneva on Friday, WHO medical officer Dr. Pierre Formenty said health officials in Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal and Guinea Bissau should be on guard.

"People are just travelling by roads, and roads exist in all West Africa, he said. "There are roads going to Bamako, going to Abidjan, going to Dakar. And of course there is some control but we all know that all these borders are quite porous in fact, so we have to be careful there and we need to be prepared, we need to be prepared."

Nearly 400 people have died since Ebola emerged again in February, making it the deadliest outbreak of the virus in the region.

Most of the infections have been in Guinea. But, health officials in Liberia and Sierra Leone are also dealing with cases of the virus, which appears to be spreading.

Formenty said the WHO is not considering recommending travel restrictions. He said such measures would be too drastic and said the U.N. agency favors greater dialogue with affected family members and villages.

"If we try to institute measures that are going to be seen as restrictive by the population, we are going in fact to fuel the outbreak, to fuel the transmission and to spread the disease,'' he said.

A doctor working with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone said the public's lack of understanding about the disease Is contributing to its rapid spread. The head of the Lassa Fever Program, Shek Moar Khan, said it is difficult to get villagers in the affected regions to change their burial practices, which facilitate the spread of the virus.

"Don't forget, by the time people are dead with the Ebola, they are more infectious than all. So if they take care of their burial on their own, ten more will be infected,'' said Khan.

On Friday, Sierra Leone warned it is a serious crime to shelter people infected with the Ebola virus. The health ministry said a number of infected patients had discharged themselves from a hospital in the southern Kenema district, and had apparently gone into hiding.

On July 2, WHO will convene a meeting of health ministers from 11 countries to explore ways to prevent the virus from spreading.

Ebola is characterized by fever, vomiting, diarrhea and, in many cases, internal and external bleeding. There is no vaccine or cure.  

 

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Activists for Peace Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified boarder, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs