Monday

25th Jun 2018

Ebola risk in Europe 'extremely low'

The risk of Ebola reaching the EU is “extremely low” but the possibility cannot be ruled out entirely, EU experts say.

An EU official told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (30 July) any infected person arriving in the EU would be contained and treated.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

  • The EU's mobile laboratory in Gueckedou working on samples from patients to be tested for the presence of Ebola Virus. (Photo: European Commission)

“The risk that this disease arrives in Europe is extremely low,” he said.

The official noted Belgium and France have direct flights to Guinea, where the deadly virus was first reported in late March.

A suspected Ebola case in Valencia, Spain was discarded after a medical examination confirmed it was something else.

The Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) told this website an infected person could arrive in Europe carrying the disease since the typical incubation period can last up to three weeks after exposure.

It said the recent surge in the number of new cases over the past few weeks increases the likelihood of visitors and travellers coming into contact with infected people.

“We cannot exclude to see a few imported cases in Europe,” notes the centre.

But the contact added by email: “Given the nature of the disease, local transmission and spread of Ebola in Europe seems unlikely at this point."

Transmission requires direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of dead or living infected persons or animals.

The European Commission, for its part, sent in experts, a mobile laboratory unit, and helped finance on-the-ground operations conducted by the World Health Organisation, Doctors without Borders, and Federation of the Red Cross.

But the Brussels executive is finding it difficult to convince NGOs to help with logistics and management due in part to summer holidays, regional politics in the affected zones, and social stigmas.

“The big problem is to find partners who are competent and willing to work in this dangerous environment,” said the EU official.

Around €2 million in EU funds has been set aside to finance the logistic operations but has yet to find any takers.

Meanwhile, aid organisations and health workers in the affected areas are reportedly being chased away from some of the more remote villages.

“We are talking about a zone in Africa that is very very very traditional. The virus couldn’t have chosen better,” noted the contact.

The Guinea-based outbreak has since spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia.

As of 23 July 2014, the cumulative number of cases reported in the three countries was 1201, of which 672 people have died.

Investigation

How to get around the EU posted workers directive

Some EU careworkers in Belgium receive around €400 a month - despite their carers paying €2,500 a month and paying for flights and accommodation. The answer lies in how firms can skirt the safeguards in the EU's posted workers directive.

Feature

Resetting the gender balance through football

Many sports, like football, have been so heavily male-dominated at every level that women and girls have battled against poor odds to be treated as equals in the game. FIFA aims to change that.

Opinion

EU needs comprehensive 'sexuality education'

The subject is mandatory by law in some form in nearly all EU countries - but it is mostly reproduction- and biology-centred, covering topics such as unwanted pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  2. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  4. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  5. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  7. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  11. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  12. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform

Latest News

  1. Orban allies divided in vote on Hungary sanctions probe
  2. Rutte - from 'Mr No' to 'next Tusk'?
  3. UN offers to help EU's migrant 'disembarkation' plan
  4. Progressive CAP alternative only hope for sustainability
  5. Ponytailed green MEP joins 'the other side of the table'
  6. EU leaders still in search of migration plan
  7. Migration row at centre of EU summit This Week
  8. Merkel's woes cast shadow on EU's future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us