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Infection control

WHO launches $100m plan to tackle Ebola

The World Health Organization (WHO) and African leaders will meet in Guinea on Friday 1 August 2014  to launch a $100m response plan to bring the Ebola outbreak under control in West Africa.

The plan identifies the need to deploy several hundred more staff to aid affected countries and come up with strategies to halt the spread of the disease to neighbouring countries. The plan emphasizes the importance of surveillance, especially in border areas, and the need to improve ways to protect health workers from infection.

To date, there have been 1,323 suspected cases and 729 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since March 2014. The scale of the outbreak is “unprecedented”, says the WHO.

The UK Government has been monitoring the situation and thinks health services have the experience to deal with the threat, which is currently “very low”. The UK foreign secretary Phillip Hammond chaired a meeting of the government’s emergency COBRA committee on 30 July 2014 and commented: “We do not, at the moment, think this is an issue that affects the UK directly.”

Public Health England (PHE) has stressed that no cases of imported Ebola have ever been reported in the UK, and the risk of contracting Ebola is very low without direct contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. Nevertheless, UK doctors are being urged to look out for signs of Ebola.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20066053

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