WHO: Ebola lands in Italy

Geneva, Switzerland (PANA) - The first case of Ebola has been recorded in Italy, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced here Wednesday.

''On 12 May 2015, WHO received notification of a laboratory-confirmed case of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Italy. This is the first EVD case to be detected on Italian soil,'' the global health body said

WHO said the patient is a healthcare worker who has returned from volunteering at an Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone.

''The patient flew from Freetown to Rome via Casablanca, Morocco on 7 May. The arrival of the case had been communicated to the Ministry of Health, according to the health surveillance procedures in force since October 2014 for individuals coming back from Ebola affected countries in West Africa. At the arrival in Rome, the case displayed no symptoms of infectious Ebola.

''On 10 May, 72 hours after his return to Italy, the patient developed symptoms. The patient self-isolated at home and was transported on 11 May to the infectious diseases ward of the Hospital of Sassari, Sardinia. Clinical samples have been tested by the national reference centre of the National Institute for Infectious Diseases (INMI) Lazzaro Spallanzani of Rome on 12 May, confirming EVD infection,'' WHO said.

It said the patient was transferred from the Hospital of Sassari to the INMI of Rome with the specially equipped aircraft of the Italian Air Force, to assure high-containment precautions.

Indications are that contact tracing of the passengers on the flights that brought him from Sierra Leone to Italy is not necessary, because the onset of symptoms occurred 72 hours after the last flight.

WHO also said healthcare workers of the Hospital in Sassari, who examined the patient, were well equipped with personal protective equipment and are now under surveillance, as well as the close contacts of the case.

PANA reports that the case of Ebola in Italy was announced as the spread of the disease continues to wane in its epicentre - the West African states of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where it has killed about 11,000 people.

On Saturday, the WHO declared Liberia Ebola-free.

Also, for seven consecutive days, Sierra Leone has registered zero confirmed cases of Ebola.
-0- PANA SEG 13May2015

13 may 2015 14:55:04

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