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June 29, 2017

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Chance of Ebola spreading to Taiwan very low: CDC

TAIPEI--Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) assured the public Thursday that chances of the Ebola virus disease spreading outside of West Africa are low, but it urged travelers to affected areas to stay on high alert nonetheless.

The deadly disease poses a very limited threat to Taiwan, the CDC said at an unscheduled press conference to address rising concerns of a pandemic after a Liberian passenger carried the disease into Nigeria on a flight to Lagos on July 20.

Ebola only spreads through physical touch and cannot be contracted from patients who do not yet show symptoms of infection, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang said.

As to reports about a woman being treated for "Ebola-like" symptoms in Hong Kong after returning from Kenya, Chuang said the Hong Kong health authority has ruled out the possibility that she was infected with the disease.

Still, those planning to visit Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone should stay vigilant, he added.

The CDC has raised its health advisory on travel to the three countries from "Watch" to "Alert."

In particular, travelers should avoid direct contact with wild monkeys and fruit bats, possible natural hosts for the Ebola virus, the CDC said.

According to World Health Organization's (WHO) latest surveillance data from July 27, the cumulative number of Ebola cases in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria stands at 1,323, causing 729 deaths.

The most recent outbreak of Ebola, the worst on record according to the WHO, has occurred primarily in remote villages in central and western Africa, near tropical rain forests.

The Ebola virus can cause severe viral hemorrhagic fever in humans and has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent, the WHO said.

No licensed treatment or vaccine is available for people or animals.

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