West African nations neighbouring those hit by the Ebola
epidemic - Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Guinea Bissau -
should prepare for the possible arrival of travellers
carrying the deadly virus, the World Health Organization
"We want other countries in West Africa to be ready -
bordering countries, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, Guinea
Bissau - to prepare themselves in case people affected with
the disease may be also travelling," WHO medical officer Dr.
Pierre Formenty told a briefing in Geneva.
Despite efforts by national health authorities and
international aid organisations to contain the spread of
Ebola, the WHO has recorded 635 infections, including 399
deaths, in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since the
outbreak began in February.
The outbreak is already the deadliest since Ebola first
emerged in central Africa in 1976, and the number of
infections continues to rise.
Formenty said it was difficult to stop the spread of the
virus in forested areas of the three countries already
affected by the epidemic and to change people's burial
practices which facilitate its transmission.
He said the U.N. health agency is not considering
recommending travel or trade restrictions on the three
"This is not out of hand," Formenty said.
WHO's Regional Director for Africa Luis Sambo on Thursday
called for drastic action to halt what he said has turned
into a cross-border crisis.