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IAEA to deliver Ebola diagnosis technology to Africa

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A healthcare worker checks the temperature of an Ebola-infected woman at a World Health Organization center in Liberia on October 3, 2014.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) plans to provide the Ebola-ravaged West African countries with specialized diagnostic equipment.

A nuclear-derived diagnostic technology will be delivered to the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone which have been most devastated by the spiraling Ebola outbreak, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano announced in a statement on Tuesday.

“Transfer of nuclear-related technologies is a key part of the Agency’s work, and we have cooperated with Member States for years to develop and strengthen their capacity to use this nuclear-derived technology. With this additional support, the Agency makes a small but effective contribution to global efforts to fight the ongoing Ebola outbreak,” Amano said.

According to the IAEA, the new diagnostic technology, known as Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), will help doctors to detect Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in just a few hours, while other current methods require several days to identify the fatal virus.

“Early diagnosis of EVD, if combined with appropriate medical care, increases the victims’ chance of survival and helps curtail the spread of the disease by making it possible to isolate and treat the patients earlier,” the IAEA statement read.

The IAEA assistance comes shortly after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the Ebola’s mortality rate has reached 70 percent, and called for international efforts to curb the spread of the epidemic.

The Ebola epidemic has so far claimed the lives of 4,447 people all around the world, while more than 8,914 people have been infected.

Ebola is a form of hemorrhagic fever whose symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding. The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces or sweat. It can also be spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses. There is currently no known cure for Ebola.


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