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West African nations should be prepared for Ebola—WHO expert - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A Liberian woman reads a poster on the prevention of the Ebola epidemic during UNICEF's sensitization campaign at the Mission for Today Holy Church in Newkru Town, Liberia, on June 22, 2014. (EPA/AHMED JALLANZO)

A Liberian woman reads a poster on the prevention of the Ebola epidemic during UNICEF’s sensitization campaign at the Mission for Today Holy Church in Newkru Town, Liberia, on June 22, 2014. (EPA/AHMED JALLANZO)

Geneva, Reuters—West African nations neighboring those hit by the Ebola epidemic—Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Guinea Bissau—should prepare for the possible arrival of travelers carrying the deadly virus, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

“We want other countries in West Africa to be ready—bordering countries, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, Guinea Bissau—to prepare themselves in case people affected with the disease may be also travelling,” WHO medical officer Dr. Pierre Formenty told a briefing in Geneva.

Despite efforts by national health authorities and international aid organisations to contain the spread of Ebola, the WHO has recorded 635 infections, including 399 deaths, in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since the outbreak began in February.

The outbreak is already the deadliest since Ebola first emerged in central Africa in 1976, and the number of infections continues to rise.

Formenty said it was difficult to stop the spread of the virus in forested areas of the three countries already affected by the epidemic and to change burial practices that facilitate its transmission.

He said the UN health agency is not considering recommending travel or trade restrictions on the three countries, however.

“This is not out of hand,” Formenty said.

WHO’s Regional Director for Africa Luis Sambo on Thursday called for drastic action to halt what he said has turned into a cross-border crisis.

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Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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