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International

Low risk of Ebola outbreak in Denmark

The World Health Organisation has declared an international health emergency, but Danes are remaining calm


The Ebola virus has taken nearly 1,000 lives in west Africa since February (Photo: Scanpix)

August 11, 2014
16:51

by Lawrence Shanahan


Danish officials and disease specialists remain calm about the possibility of the Ebola virus spreading to Denmark despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring it an international health emergency last week on Friday.

Morten Sodemann, a professor and disease specialist at the University of Southern Denmark, told the Copenhagen Post that there was no need to worry about an outbreak occurring in Denmark.

“It’s extremely easy to protect yourself from the virus if you have the right training and utensils,” he said.

Africa poorly equipped
The virus – whose symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea and both internal and external bleeding – has taken nearly 1,000 lives in west Africa since February. In some countries, the fatality rate is as high as 90 percent, according to WHO.

“In Africa, they’re struggling with the lack of basic knowledge and equipment – all it takes is masks, gloves and a basic knowledge of the virus to prevent an outbreak,” Sodemann continued.

Authorities similarly unconcerned
The Danish Health and Medicines Authority has assessed there is a low risk of the disease arriving in Denmark, and even if it did, there would be “no risk of an outbreak”, it stated on its website.

The disease can only be spread through the exchange of bodily fluids, and it therefore poses a much lower risk of outbreak than an airborne disease such as swine flu.

Contingency plan in place
Although the authority has made contingency plans should somebody return from west Africa with Ebola-like symptoms, it does not seem to be too concerned about this possibility.  

“Since the Ebola virus does not spread very easily, it is unlikely that fever or other symptoms of infection in a person who has returned from a holiday, cultural tour or ordinary work-related travel are caused by the Ebola virus,” it explained. 




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