World Bulletin/News Desk
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has announced the disbursement of $250,000 to assist ongoing efforts to curb the spread of Ebola fever, which has claimed 70 lives in Guinea and close to a dozen in Liberia and Sierra Leona.
"Our leaders are worried about the spread of the Ebola fever and are willing to contribute to ongoing efforts in fighting back this deadly disease which is now a serious threat to regional security," ECOWAS Commission President Desire Kadre Ouedraogo said Sunday at the end of the grouping's 44th summit in Ivory Coast.
"ECOWAS is also calling on the international community to assist our countries in the fight to push back this virus which could attack other countries if care is not taken," he added.
The ECOWAS is composed of 15 countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo – with a combined population of 340 million, according to World Bank estimates of 2013.
The Ebola hemorrhagic fever was detected last January in the hinterlands of Guinea but has progressed to the capital Conakry, with 111 cases and 70 deaths registered so far, according to the Guinean ministry of health.
Six people were last week reported to have died of the disease in Liberia, while five deaths were registered in Sierra Leone during the same period.
Senegal has closed its southern borders with Guinea as a preventive measure.
Ivory Coast has also set up epidemiological surveillance centres at border posts to monitor arriving passengers, notably from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Ebola is a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus tends to cause severe viral hemorrhagic fever with a fatality rate of some 90 percent.
The virus is transmitted to humans from wild animals and spreads through human-to-human transmission.
The tropical fever appeared for the first time in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was named after the Ebola River, which runs close to the Congolese town of Yambuku – the site of the first documented case of the virus.
Last Mod: 30 Mart 2014, 22:31