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WHO calls for a realistic assessment of Ebola business risks

In its latest Disease Outbreak News, the World Health Organization has confirmed that it is investigating potential Ebola cases in a number of countries outside Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. However, whilst issuing the warning, WHO has also appealed to organizations to make a realistic assessment of the business risks linked to Ebola as over-reaction is causing real difficulties in countries impacted by Ebola.

“Currently, some companies have taken the decision to suspend services to the affected countries. This includes airlines and shipping companies. As a result of these decisions, countries are beginning to experience supply shortages, including fuel, food, and basic supplies,” states WHO. WHO is working with the UN World Food Programme to ensure adequate food and supplies, but calls on companies “to make business decisions based on scientific evidence with regard to the transmission of Ebola virus.”

In the current outbreak, the majority of Ebola virus disease cases are a result of human-to-human transmission and failure to apply appropriate infection prevention and control measures in home care, some clinical settings, and in burial rituals. It is important to understand that EVD is not an airborne disease. Individuals may become infected as a result of contact with the bodily fluids (vomit, diarrhoea, sputum, blood, etc.) from persons who are confirmed to have EVD or who have died from EVD. Companies bringing goods and services to the affected countries are at low risk for exposure to EVD and WHO, under the International Health Regulations, encourages companies and organizations to continue providing these necessary supplies.

•Date: 22nd August 2014 • World •Type: Article • Topic: Pandemic planning

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