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Q&A: THE DISEASE

As the Ebola outbreak in West Africa grows, below are some key questions.

Q: Is Ebola deadly?

A: Very much so. If contracted, there is no vaccine and no specific treatment. Ebola has a fatality rate of at least 60pc. The World Health Organization estimates that there have been 887 deaths from the current outbreak.

Q: How is Ebola 
transmitted?

A: The virus only spreads through direct contact with the blood or fluids of an infected person. It can also be spread through objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with infected fluids. No airborne transmission has been documented.

Q: What are the symptoms?

A: Even the initial symptoms are unpleasantly flu-like. Ebola can initially cause muscle pain, weakness, headache, and sore throat. It quickly moves on to causing vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and sometimes both internal AND external bleeding. This blood loss invariably leads to death.

Q: How is it being contained?

A: European airlines such as Air France-KLM, British Airways and Lufthansa all fly to Western Africa from their hubs in Paris, Amsterdam, London and Frankfurt.

Lufthansa notes that "there is no risk of getting infected by the Ebola virus via air circulation during flight." British Airways has briefed all crew members about the "causes and symptoms of Ebola".

International health organisations have set up emergency response operations and provide other help to control the outbreak.


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