Flinders prepares Ebola guidelines for mass events

Laboratory examination of Ebola. Image by Shutterstock.
A laboratory examination of Ebola. Flinders experts are working on guidelines covering mass gatherings worldwide Image by Shutterstock.

Guidelines covering mass gatherings worldwide in the wake of the Ebola epidemic are being developed by Flinders University.

Flinders University’s World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Mass Gatherings and High Consequence Events has been enlisted by the WHO to prepare urgent strategies for managing mass gatherings and planned events following the Ebola crisis, which is affecting multiple countries in West Africa.

When completed, the guidelines will be used by international event organisers and health authorities to plan for large scale public events where an Ebola infection could occur.

Established in 2009, the Flinders Collaborating Centre is a leader in disaster and emergency research in the Asia-Pacific – one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world.

It works in partnership with the WHO to develop better strategies for the management of mass gatherings and deliberate events such as concerts, large scale sports events and disasters.

While the Ebola guidelines are still being drafted, with the details not yet publicly available, the guidelines will provide event organisers and health authorities with important advice on planning and management strategies before, during and after an Ebola detection.

WHO Collaborating Centre for Mass Gatherings and High Consequence Events Director, Professor Paul Arbon, said coordination and cooperation is essential when a health risk could affect other nations.

“Mass gatherings are one such scenario and this is especially relevant across African nations at present where the potential risk is greater,” Professor Arbon said.

“Although we do know some African countries have enacted travel bans, this involves the WHO Collaborating Centre network and will provide an expert consensus on the level of risk and any accompanying actions,” he said.

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