SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

International health committee discusses Ebola outbreak in West Africa

IHR Emergency Committee discusses Ebola outbreak of West Africa | Courtesy of sciencedaily.com
Advisers and members of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee recently held their fifth meeting to discuss the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Main topics they discussed focused on whether they should extend, revise or replace the current temporary recommendations concerning Ebola in West Africa and whether the outbreak still qualifies as a public health emergency of international concern.

Since the last meeting in January 2015, there has been a reduction in both geographic distribution and case incidence of Ebola. Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone recently presented outbreak status reports that supported the improving trends.

Experts also report that the overall risk of spreading Ebola internationally has decreased, thanks to improvements in Ebola prevention and various other control activities throughout West Africa. Committee officials agree the three countries have gained significant progress in battling the Ebola outbreak. Experts still maintain that interrupting the disease’s transmission is essential, as it is an important step in eliminating the virus.

The committee also emphasized it is vital that communities affected by Ebola understand the importance of “getting to zero.” The members and advisers also emphasized that health care workers must practice control measures and infection prevention to avoid contracting Ebola.

The Committee said ongoing research to determine whether Ebola is spread sexually is important. This is in light of a recent Ebola case that was confirmed when an uninfected person had sexual intercourse with an Ebola survivor months after the survivor had been cleared for recovery.

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