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WHO cautions all countries to prepare for the Ebola Virus

Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan. Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan.
HAVANA, Cuba, October 20, 2014 - Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan says any country with an international airport is theoretically at risk of receiving an imported case of Ebola.

In a message to the Special Summit  of ALBA-TCP being held in Havana Cuba, the WHO Director said “We should all heed this Ebola virus, which is one of the deadliest pathogens on the planet. This virus is a relentless unforgiving and the slightest mistake; knows how to take advantage of every opportunity to intensify again or spread to new areas.”

Dr. Chan pointed out that “The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the most serious medical emergency that has been seen today. More than 400 health workers have been infected and more than half of them died. This had never been seen in any previous outbreak of Ebola.

As elsewhere, the countries of this region are on high alert for any possible introduction of Ebola virus through a passenger. Hardly a day passes without rumors of an imported case in an airport or in an emergency room somewhere in the world.”

The following the full text of Dr. Chan’s statement to the Special Summit on Ebola  in Cuba:

Greetings from the World Health Organization in Geneva.

I must begin by thanking the Cuban government for answering the call to face the outbreak of Ebola virus with such experienced doctors and nurses.

 I have seen many news, photos of the group with its spotless white robes, ready to help.

 This means a hope, which is welcomed, compared to what it represents, moreover, a frightening outbreak.

I appreciate this opportunity to address the members of the Bolivarian Alliance. I appreciate the purpose of this meeting are certainly doing the right things, they want to increase, with the utmost urgency, their level of preparedness for an imported case of Ebola.

The World Health Organization, in conjunction with the Pan American Health Organization, are here to support them in every way possible. Last month, the Ebola virus moved to its region.

As we were taught experiences in Lagos, Nigeria, in July, and now in the United States last month, any country with an international airport is theoretically at risk of receiving an imported case of Ebola.

We should all heed this Ebola virus, which is one of the deadliest pathogens on the planet. This virus is a relentless unforgiving and the slightest mistake; knows how to take advantage of every opportunity to intensify again or spread to new areas.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the most serious medical emergency that has been seen today. More than 400 health workers have been infected and more than half of them died. This had never been seen in any previous outbreak of Ebola.

As elsewhere, the countries of this region are on high alert for any possible introduction of Ebola virus through a passenger. Hardly a day passes without rumors of an imported case in an airport or in an emergency room somewhere in the world.

Governments are right to draw the costumes and armor sets and show the isolation rooms. This ensures its citizens and the media that the country is well prepared to prevent transmission if it were an imported case. This is understandable. The virus is deadly. The disease is terrible. People are afraid.

At the same time, we know that a well-prepared country can defeat Ebola outbreak.

On Friday, the World Health Organization declared that he ended the outbreak in Senegal. On Monday, we will do the same with the outbreak in Nigeria. A feat that many health experts still find it hard to believe. But I can assure you that the World Health Organization is confident this extraordinary achievement.

The countries of the Bolivarian Alliance can and should do the same. Political commitment at the highest level and national unity can be decisive.

Train staff, do drills to measure performance, drafted protocols as soon as possible, establish systems, get the support of the public and the media.

Commitment to their community to face the fear with the facts and understand the basics of infection prevention and control, especially in the field of health care.

Protect yourself against errors. As demonstrated by the recent incidents of transmission in Spain and the United States, the use of personal protective equipment or PPE is not infallible. They should be used together with an excellent administrative, engineering and environmental control. I repeat itself, the EPP are not infallible.

Last week, the World Health Organization issued new recommendations on the EPP, which can help governments prepare efficiently and effectively.

As I said, the World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization are here to support you.

I sincerely wish you a most productive meeting.