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Ebola epidemic exploding in Africa, but WHO won't admit the problem

Despite 30 new cases a day in Sierra Leone, and 15 deaths a day as well, the World Health Organization is acting like there's no need to be concerned. Yet since the outbreak began in February, 2014, WHO reports the death toll has reached 826 from 1440 cases. Ebola has been reported in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, all in West Africa. A second US health worker was airlifted to Atlanta today. Even the Peace Corps has pulled its staff from these 3 countries (see video). CBS News recently reported “two United States Peace Corps volunteers working in Liberia have been isolated after being exposed to Ebola.”

Here's what the WHO has to say.

WHO’s current risk assessment for travel and transport is not recommending an travel restrictions or the closure of borders at points of entry. Further, the WHO states that “The risk of a tourist or businessman/woman becoming infected with Ebola virus during a visit to the affected areas and developing disease after returning is extremely low, even if the visit included travel to the local areas from which primary cases have been reported. Transmission requires direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animal, all unlikely exposures for the average traveler. Tourists are in any event advised to avoid all such contacts.”

WHO advises that transmission of the Ebola virus only occurs when patients are displaying symptoms of the disease which are severe. Symptoms of Ebola include fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat; followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and at advanced stage, both internal and external bleeding. They say it is highly unlikely that someone suffering such symptoms would feel well enough to travel. The fact is, that a person with Ebola may develop symptoms rapidly, while they are in transit.

In the rare event that a person infected with the Ebola virus was unknowingly transported by air, WHO advises that the risks to other passengers are low. The WHO fails to admit that as a virus, Ebola residues left on hard surfaces may live for a period of time, particularly in the humid and hot conditions of equatorial Africa. Who also says,

In line with WHO guidance, awareness-raising activities initiatives are being conducted for travelers to and from the affected region. As always, passengers are advised not to travel if they are unwell. And any traveler developing symptoms of the Ebola within three weeks of returning from an affected region is advised to seek rapid medical attention.

This advice makes it clear that flying on airlines that travel to and from Africa is risky business at best. If infected passengers don't even know they are ill for 3 weeks, and you are in contact with them, where does that leave you?

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