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Ebola experts beg European governments for help

Updated: 2014-09-27 08:37
By Agence France-Presse in Paris (China Daily)

Health experts from 16 European countries beseeched their governments on Friday to massively scale up manpower and resources to fight West Africa's Ebola epidemic, which now threatens "the entire world".

European countries should urgently send trained medical staff, field laboratories, protective clothing, disinfectants and basic tools like generators, the 44 public health professionals and academics wrote in The Lancet medical journal.

"After months of inaction and neglect from the international community, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has now spiraled utterly out of control," their open letter said.

"Today, the virus is a threat not only to the countries where the outbreak has overwhelmed the capacity of national health systems but also to the entire world.

"We urge our governments to mobilize all possible resources to assist West Africa in dealing with this horrific epidemic."

The deadliest Ebola epidemic has infected more than 6,200 people in West Africa and killed nearly half of them since late last year, according to the World Health Organization.

The virus can kill within days, causing high fever, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea and, in some cases, unstoppable bleeding.

The experts from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom listed several possible interventions.

"We urge European governments to create mechanisms that allow professionals working in public healthcare systems to volunteer for temporary leave (with hazard pay) to contribute to the epidemic control efforts in the region," they said.

There is also an urgent need for surveillance and diagnostic equipment, mobile communications technology, clean water and fuel, as well as protective equipment for healthcare providers - soap, chlorine, clothing and masks.

 

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