Iraq | News | No Ebola cases detected in Iraq

No Ebola cases detected in Iraq

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6 January 2015, Baghdad, Iraq - The Ministry of Health in Iraq, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), confirms that there is no suspected case of Ebola virus disease in Iraq as of 5 January 2015. 

On 31 December, 2014, Al-Sabah newspaper, Shafaq news agency and Rudaw online newspaper reported a rumour of Ebola cases in Mosul, Ninewa governorate. The news was also relayed through other media agencies in and outside of Iraq.

Following this rumour, the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization investigated the allegations through existing surveillance networks, as well as through contacts with health authorities and medical sources in Ibn Sina Hospital in Mosul. All sources contacted have negated the existence of any suspected cases of Ebola. The Ministry of Health and WHO further confirmed that the laboratory facilities in Mosul do not have the necessary capabilities to diagnose and confirm the Ebola virus.

The Ministry of Health and WHO remain vigilant and have scaled up surveillance efforts to ensure early detection and safe management of any eventual suspected EVD cases in the country. All necessary precautionary measures are being taken to ensure that effective preventive programmes are in place and that the people of Iraq are provided with all affordable support in case any EVD case is detected. WHO and the Ministry of Health have taken the following actions:

  • Assessments of international entry points have been conducted jointly between the Ministry of Health, WHO experts and Health Cluster partners. It included international crossings and entry points such as the international airports and ports.
  • The Ministry of Health together with WHO are finalizing the implementation of the assessment mission’s recommendations with a focus on strengthening the EVD preparedness and readiness measures.   
  • The surveillance efforts have been scaled up at all health facilities to ensure that any imported or suspected cases are promptly detected.
  • A contingency and response plan is currently under development. 
  • Instructions have been issued to all governorate Directorates of Health to be vigilant at points of entry.
  • Regular information exchange between WHO and Ministry of Health on the status of the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and in other affected countries is ongoing.
  • Recommendations were made to departments of health and other health authorities to reactivate taskforces at the governorate levels for any eventualities.
  • Communication materials and awareness raising messages were developed, and will be disseminated to all local media outlets and channels.

Facts about Ebola

  • Ebola virus disease; also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, or Ebola, is a disease of humans and other primates caused by Ebola virus. It is a highly infectious disease which presents with extremely high fever and bleeding tendencies. It is very infectious; and can be fatal within a short time but can easily be prevented. 
  • Signs and symptoms typically start between two days and three weeks after someone contracts the virus. It presents with extremely high fever, sore throat, muscle pain, and headache. Usually followed by vomiting, diarrhoea and rash, along with decreased function of the liver and kidneys. Some people may bleed both internally and externally. 
  • Ebola can kill between 25% and 90% of those infected with the virus, averaging out at 50%. This is often due to low blood pressure from fluid loss, and typically follows six to sixteen days after symptoms appear.
  • Ebola virus disease spreads by direct contact with body fluids, such as blood, saliva and sweat of an infected human or animals, and with a recently contaminated item or surface. Ebola does not spread through air between primates and humans. Semen or breast milk of a person infected with Ebola virus disease may still carry the virus for several weeks to months even after recovery. 
  • Other diseases such as malaria, cholera, typhoid fever, meningitis and other viral hemorrhagic fevers may have symptoms that resemble those of Ebola virus disease. Blood samples to confirm the diagnosis of the disease.
  • There is no specific treatment or vaccine for Ebola, although a number of potential treatments are being studied. Efforts to help those who are infected are supportive; mainly through oral rehydration therapy (drinking slightly sweetened and salty water) or giving intravenous fluids and treating symptoms.
  • The largest outbreak to date is the ongoing epidemic in West Africa, which is centred in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. As of 31 December 2014, this outbreak has 20 416 reported cases resulting in 8004 deaths.

For more information, please contact:

Dr Ziad Tariq Ali
Ministry of Health, Iraq
Mobile: +964 7809285820
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Dr Bisalinkumi, Ezechiel
World Health Organization, Iraq
Mobile: +964 7809161459
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Dr Ahmed Zouiten
World Health Organization, Iraq
Mobile: +9647510101452
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

Ms Pauline Ajello
World Health Organization, Iraq
Mobile: +9647809288618
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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Key health-related statistics

Total population (000s) 37 140
Total health expenditure on health (% of general government expenditure) 6.5
Maternal mortality ratio (per 100 000 live births) 50
Number of primary health care units and centres (per 10 000 population) 0.7
Total life expectancy at birth (years) 69.8

Source: Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

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