Ghana tops the list of countries at risk of recording an Ebola outbreak, a research has revealed.
The research, conducted by the Northeastern University, USA, says countries with the largest probability of seeing the arrival of Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) cases before the end of October 2014 are Ghana, the United States, France, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire.
The report was compiled before Senegal, Nigeria and the United States recorded any case and was published on October 6, 2014.
Other countries stated in the report are the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Belgium, Mali, The Gambia, Morocco, South Africa, Kenya, Lebanon and Germany.
According to the report, the short-term projection for the international spread of the EVD showed a small probability for countries outside Africa, with the exception of a few European countries.
It said the probability of international spread would have increased, particularly in Europe and the Americas, if the Nigerian outbreak had not been contained.
Although no official comment could be obtained, people on the streets have expressed concerns about the chances of Ghana experiencing an outbreak soon.
According to them, with Ghana being used as the hub for the transportation of Ebola equipment to the affected countries, the country had a slim chance of avoiding the disease.
The Head of the United Nations (UN) Mission on Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Mr Anthony Banbury, had earlier given an assurance that the presence of the mission in Ghana would not put the country at risk.
According to him, the team was going to follow stringent and rigid measures that would be put in place by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) to check their travels from Ghana to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the three countries affected by the Ebola disease.
But some people are still of the belief that air travels by the UNMEER team, coupled with Ghana being a transit point of flights from many West African countries, were going to increase the country’s vulnerability.
The report said the probability of case exportation was extremely modest for non-African countries, with the exception of the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and the United States.
The research said the probability of any country experiencing (EVD) case importation depended on the passenger flow from the areas affected by the outbreak, the case numbers and the duration of the incubation time.
It said to characterise and forecast the international spread, it was assumed that the growth rate of the epidemic in the affected regions was not going to change in the next two months.
However, the report said the transmissibility might change as the epidemic progressed, saying that new containment measures would lower the local transmission with a decrease of observed cases.
“While this was the scenario we hope will occur in the future, if the containment measures are not successful, we may expect a deterioration of the health infrastructure capabilities in the EVD-affected areas,” it added.
That, it said, would likely lead to the increase in transmissibility and an acceleration of the epidemic.
It said the evolution of the epidemic was likely to deviate from the current behaviour in the next few weeks or months.