Ebola Outbreak A Threat To Africa's Growth

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Reports of Ebola outbreak in West African countries and its speedy spread across the continent is putting pressure on institutions and governments worldwide with many countries fearing for a major decline in their economic growth.


Many governments across the globe have put their health workers on high alert as World Health Organization -WHO classifies several Africa countries  mainly West Africa as high risk areas for the deadly Ebola stain.


The World Health Organization has already declared the outbreak an international public health emergency and cautioned anyone who had had close contacts with Ebola patients to avoid international travels..


Travel plans for many people to the most affected countries; Guinea, Liberia , Nigeria and Sierra Leon have come to a halt with governments putting in place more stringent measures to curb the spread of the killer disease.


West African nations have been struggling to control both the spread of the deadly outbreak and the fear it has continued to impact on people and businesses particularly  tourists  planning to travel to the affected nations.


WHO at a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday named Kenya among African nations vulnerable to Ebola outbreak as a result of being major transport hubs in the region receiving 76 flights a week.


This has however forced Kenya like many other countries in East and Central Africa to  tighten rules on screening of visitors from the Ebola hit areas at all its points of entry to curb the spread of the deadly virus.


The U.N. health agency says 1,145 people have died so far in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa of the 1,848 suspected or confirmed cases recorded by authorities. 


Many businesses such air transport particularly in Kenya are scrambling to respond to the crisis that seems to be taking tolls on global economy despite assurance from economic analysts that the crisis may not threaten the broader African or global economies.


World bank has estimated that in Guinea alone where the crisis emerged in March , the outbreak will shrink economic growth by one percent from 4.5 percent this year.


The killer virus is spread by direct contact with bodily fluids like blood, diarrhea and vomit.However more questions than answers are being raised as to whether the current Ebola strain could have come from illegally-trafficked apes. 


According to http://Mongabay.org, the original explanation for the virus breaking out in this remote part of southeastern Guinea, near the borders of Sierra Leone and Liberia, was that people had eaten infected bush-meat. 


"Fruit bats are thought to be the natural reservoir of all strains of Ebola virus, and they can pass it on to other species in various ways, including through their feces, dropping pieces of half-eaten fruit that other animals eat, or by being butchered and eaten themselves as bush-meat" Says the report.

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