Medical journal says Australia's Ebola risk is "small"

DESPITE the recent health scare on the Gold Coast, Dr Grant Hill-Cawthorne from the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity at the University of Sydney believes the risk of Ebola virus appearing in Australia is small.

But he warns continued vigilance and good infection control are critical to keeping it that way in an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest ever recorded, currently involving more than 3000 cases and 1841 deaths.

Dr Hill-Cawthorne and his co-authors wrote that Australia was well-prepared for the possibility of a spread through infected travellers.

"The risk to Australia remains small; no cases of EVD have been documented here," they wrote. "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.

"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." - APN NEWSDESK

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