This Is How Medical Authorities Are Keeping The Deadly Ebola Virus Out Of Australia

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The risk of Ebola virus appearing in Australia remains small but vigilance and infection control are critical to keeping it that way, according to infectious disease experts writing in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Dr Grant Hill-Cawthorne and coauthors from the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity at the University of Sydney wrote that the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest recorded.

“While Ebola virus is a scary proposition, with good infection control and vigilant health authorities, outbreaks will not occur in this country,” the exerts write.

“Instead, we need to focus our efforts on assisting the global response to the crisis in West Africa.”

The species circulating in West Africa, Zaire ebolavirus, carries the highest mortality of the five known species.

Symptoms of Ebola virus disease include fever, myalgia, severe diarrhoea and vomiting and sometimes internal and external haemorrhaging.

The risk to areas outside West Africa comes from spread via infected travellers but the experts say: “Australia is well prepared for such a possibility.”

The federal Department of Health provides extensive guidance and state departments have issued risk assessment guidelines and management algorithms.

The diagnosis of Ebola should be considered in at-risk patients (defined as those with fever and history of travel to an affected area within 21 days of onset) and expert medical advice sought, the experts write.

At-risk patients should be isolated and health care workers should use appropriate protective gear.

“The risk to Australia remains small,” they write. No cases ave been documented here.

“However, continued vigilance for patients who fit the case definition, followed by their prompt isolation, is essential to prevent potential local transmission of the disease,” they say.

“While Ebola virus is a scary proposition, with good infection control and vigilant health authorities, outbreaks will not occur in this country.

“Instead, we need to focus our efforts on assisting the global response to the crisis in West Africa.”

The total number of probable, confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola virus disease in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is 4366, with 2218 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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