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Mon 11 Aug 2014 09:58 AM

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UAE is free from Ebola, says health ministry

Gov’t working with WHO and health authorities to keep deadline disease at bay

UAE is free from Ebola, says health ministry
In this handout from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of a Ebola virus virion is seen. (Getty Images)

The UAE is free from the Ebola disease and the government is working in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on preventive and precautionary measures to keep the disease at bay, the Ministry of Health stated on Sunday.

Dr. Amin Al Amiri, Assistant Under-Secretary of the Ministry for the Public Health Policies and Licensing and Ministry spokesman, said: "The UAE is free from Ebola disease, which has been reported in a number of African countries."

He said the ministry, health institutions and other competent authorities, including the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA), are working to make sure there is no outbreak in the emirates.

Following reports of the first outbreak of the disease in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s health ministry said on Saturday that initial tests on a dead Saudi citizen suspected of having contracted Ebola had returned negative.

The man died on Wednesday after returning from a business trip to Sierra Leone and presenting symptoms similar to those of Ebola sufferers.

The ministry said in a statement it was waiting for the results of further tests by laboratories in the United States and Germany, which were due within days.

Ebola is one of the deadliest diseases known in humans with a fatality rate of up to 90 percent. The death rate in the current outbreak in West Africa, which has killed almost 1,000, is around 60 percent.

The WHO said on Friday the current West African outbreak represents an international health emergency that is likely to continue spreading for months.

It has put a severe strain on the health systems of affected states, and governments have responded with a range of measures including national emergencies declared in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, which confirmed seven cases of Ebola in Lagos.

Guinea closed its borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia on Saturday in a bid to halt the spread of the epidemic.

Saudi Arabia has suspended pilgrimage visas for citizens of West African countries to counter the possible spread of the disease.

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