23.08.2014

Current ebola outbreak a concern for local health care workers and others involved with patients

WHO Director General, M. Chan declared the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa as
a public health emergency of international concern.

There are specific concerns about occupational exposure to Ebola Virus among
health care workers and other workers in health settings, including
laboratories, burial sites, cleaners and desinfectors, as well as hunters,
animal welfare and wildlife workers. According to Ms Chan, the number of
health-care workers who have been infected is unprecedented. To date, nearly
170 health-care workers have been infected, and more than 80 have died. The
infections and deaths of health-care workers have three major consequences.
First, they diminish one of the most important assets for the response to any
outbreak. Second, they can lead to the closure of hospitals and isolation
wards, especially when staff refuse to come to work. Third, they drive fear,
already very high, to new extremes.

The risk of business travellers becoming infected with Ebola virus during a
visit to the affected areas and developing disease after returning is extremely
low, even if the visit included travel to the local areas from which primary
cases have been reported.

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AplusA-online.de - Source: World Health Organization