The Australian Government is contributing $1 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) to help control the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and prevent further spread of the disease.

The WHO has declared the Ebola virus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Australia’s contribution will help WHO to provide immediate support to affected West African countries, including the provision of urgently needed medical supplies and equipment.

This assistance is in addition to the more than $20 million Australia will contribute to the WHO in 2014 and 2015. Australia also provides $20 million annually to support WHO’s global health activities, including to respond to disease threats.

Australian funding to the Red Cross has also enabled them to support response efforts.

While Ebola is a very serious disease, there have been no cases of Ebola in Australia and the risk of an outbreak in Australia remains low. Australia’s current border protection and infection control measures are consistent with WHO’s recommendations for countries not affected by the outbreak.

Measures undertaken by the Australian Government include increased messaging at major Australian international airports to raise awareness of the symptoms of Ebola, and checking the health of people travelling from affected countries in West Africa.

We strongly advise Australians to reconsider their need to travel to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, and to leave these countries while commercial means are still available. Further information on the implications of the Ebola outbreak for Australian travellers can be found on theSmartraveller website (smartraveller.gov.au).

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