Ebola – Risk to Island residents is extremely low

| August 1, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) would like to reassure the Manx public that the local risk from Ebola is extremely low following an outbreak in Africa.

Ebola is caused by a virus which is transmitted when an individual comes into direct contact with the bodily fluid (blood, sweat, saliva etc.)  It is not airborne.  At present there is an outbreak in 3 countries in West Africa (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) and one case in Nigeria – in a person who travelled from an infected area whilst well.

Ebola is not a new disease; the virus has been known since 1976 and has caused small outbreaks periodically in several African countries.  The disease is severe with a fatality rate of 50 – 90%.  There is no known treatment or vaccine.  Scrupulous hygiene practice by local communities, health care staff and patients play an important part in preventing the spread of the virus, along with quarantine of those affected.

Risk

The risk of importation is also very low; there have been several outbreaks of Ebola in the past and no cases have been imported into the UK or Europe.  Only those who are engaged in humanitarian aid and other health care delivery in the effected countries are at any risk since they are the only people likely to come into direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluid.

Advice to the public

There is no need for concern about the outbreak in Africa; the chances of importing a case of Ebola into the Isle of Man are very low.  The risk of an outbreak locally is virtually zero.
The Public Health Directorate of the DHSC is keeping close links with Public Health England and the World Health Authority (WHO) to monitor the situation and will implement appropriate action if the situation changes.

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