Risk of an outbreak of Ebola in the Isle of Man is virtually zero

The Ebola virus

The Ebola virus

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Health chiefs say that people in the Isle of Man have little to fear after the outbreak of a deadly disease in Africa.

The Department of Health and Social Care today issued a press release to reassure the Manx public that the local risk from Ebola was extremely low.

Ebola is caused by a virus which is transmitted when an individual comes into direct contact with the bodily fluid (blood, sweat, saliva etc.) It is not airborne.

There is an outbreak in three countries in West Africa (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) and one case in Nigeria – in a person who travelled from an infected area while well.

Ebola is not a new disease.

The virus has been known since 1976 and has caused small outbreaks periodically in several African countries.

The disease is severe with a fatality rate of 50 - 90 per cent.

There is no known treatment or vaccine.

Scrupulous hygiene practice by local communities, health care staff and patients play an important part in preventing the spread of the virus, along with quarantine of those affected.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘The risk of importation is also very low. There have been several outbreaks of Ebola in the past and no cases have been imported into the UK or Europe.

‘Only those who are engaged in humanitarian aid and other health care delivery in the affected countries are at any risk since they are the only people likely to come into direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluid.’

The official advice is:

There is no need for concern about the outbreak in Africa; the chances of importing a case of Ebola into the Isle of Man are very low. The risk of an outbreak locally is virtually zero.

The Public Health Directorate of the DHSC is keeping close links with Public Health England and the World Health Authority (WHO) to monitor the situation and will implement appropriate action if the situation changes.

The Manx government has funded work to stop the spread of Ebola.

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