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Two countries to get Ebola all-clear

Wednesday October 15th, 2014

Two African countries are set to be declared free of Ebola - but officials warned of "explosive" outbreaks in the three most affected countries.

The World Health Organisation said that by Friday both Senegal and Nigeria would have been free of new cases for 42 days.

But it warned that in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone hopes that the outbreak might be contained in some regions continue to be dashed.

It said: "An unusual characteristic of this epidemic is a persistent cyclical pattern of gradual dips in the number of new cases, followed by sudden flare-ups. New cases continue to explode in areas that looked like they were coming under control."

The global organisation warned governments of countries all over the world against complacency.

It said it was concerned that in some cases government officials were stating that people arriving in their country with Ebola symptoms were being said to be all clear within a few hours.

A spokesman said: "Such rapid determination of infection status is impossible, casting grave doubts on some of the official information that is being communicated to the public and the media."

The new came as Britain began screening arrivals at Heathrow Airport.

Dr Paul Cosford, of Public Health England, said: “It’s important to remember this is just one part of the screening process. Public Health England is also working with the international community and local health authorities to ensure robust exit screening remains in place at airports in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, which will pick up anyone who is symptomatic before they leave these countries.

“Although no system can completely prevent a case of Ebola coming into the UK, enhanced screening in high volume ports of entry will ensure that individuals at risk know exactly what to do if they start feeling ill, and can receive the expert advice they need immediately.

“Overall the risk of Ebola in the UK remains low, and we have a world-class domestic health system that is ready to respond if we do see a case in the UK.”

Tags: Africa | Flu & Viruses | UK News | World Health

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