Medical expert calls for three Ebola centres

An Austrian infectious diseases expert has said that Austria needs three specialised centres to deal with suspected cases of Ebola virus.

Medical expert calls for three Ebola centres
Protective medical suits. Photo: APA/Fohringer

At present only the Kaiser Franz Josef hospital in Vienna is properly equipped but Günter Weiss, the Director of the Innsbruck University Hospital for Infectious Diseases, said that hospitals in Graz and Innsbruck should also be fully prepared to deal with cases on a national level.

The Ministry of Health is currently working on an Ebola plan to make national coordination easier in the event of a case being discovered in Austria, Weiss said at a press conference on Thursday.

He said that currently each of Austria’s states is responsible for making its own contingency plan and there is no networking.

He added that medical centres need not just be focussed on Ebola but could be specialised for all kinds of infectious diseases – such as Mers. “Every year there are two or three new viruses which cause panic,” he said.

He stressed that the probability of an Ebola case in Austria was still "very low", but that Innsbruck hospital was well prepared, with a separate isolation unit and specially trained medical teams.

Recently officials from the EU agency in Sweden focused on fighting Ebola told The Local that airborne diseases such as Sars are far more of a threat in Europe than Ebola. 

Weiss said that he was not in favour of tougher entry requirements and quarantine regulations but that travellers needed to be “responsible” if they visit an Ebola-infected country.

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