Will the 2018 Ebola Breakout Hit the UK?
The results might be more surprising than you might think. Since the last epidemic, a further outbreak has hit the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and has already killed twelve people. Health officials have strongly urged members of the public to be vaccinated against the deadly disease; however, news now suggests that Europe could be at risk of the virus spreading via tourists and transport.
The area where the outbreak has happened has 35 confirmed cases of the virus, with another 17 suspected cases of the disease. These figures have been released after the virus hit the city of Mbandaka earlier this month. The trouble with the disease hitting the city, is that not only does it have a population of 1.2 million people, it also serves a transportation hub, meaning that it can spread extremely quickly.
Rather surprisingly other countries could be at risk of a breakout. According to EcoHealth Alliance, Belgium and France could both be at risk of the virus. They used flight data from aeroplanes that were travelling to and from their airports that are nearest to Bikoro, and these were Mbandaka, Kinshasa, and Brazzaville in order to reveal the countries and cities that are at the highest risk.
There were some surprising places that featured on the list though, including Brussels, which was the fifth most at risk city of infection, and Paris was seventh. Unsurprisingly though, Pointe-Noire, which is the neighbouring area of the Republic of Congo was at the highest risk of bringing in the virus. Both Johannesburg and Nairobi also made the top 10 list.
The company’s President, Dr. Peter Daszak said;
“With approximately half a million passengers traveling from DRC each year, the disease requires just one infected traveller to cause a global public health emergency…this helps us be forewarned and prepared.”
With the threat to Brussels and Paris being higher than people might have thought, it has left many worried about whether there will be an outbreak of the potentially deadly disease here in the UK. According to the NHS, this risk remains negligible; however we should be reminded that if you are at all worried that you have become infected while travelling abroad, you are advised to call NHS 111, or alternatively speak to your GP as soon as possible. Whilst Ebola is a worst case scenario, it is better to get it ruled out, as symptoms can also seem similar to other serious conditions, such as cholera and malaria.
Know what symptoms to look out for as well. These can include a high fever, headache, sore throat and severe muscle weakness in the earlier stages, and in the latter stages, these could include diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain, internal bleeding, and reduced kidney and liver function.