Lithuania's Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius has set up a task force that would coordinate efforts to manage a possible outbreak of the Ebola virus, if needed.
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Under a decree signed on Tuesday, Healthcare Vice-Minister Erikas Mačiūnas has been appointed to head the team, which also includes representatives of the government, ministries of Healthcare, Transport and Communication, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Interior Affairs, the Lithuanian army's medical service, the Fire and Rescue Department and the State Tourism Department.

The task force has been authorized to coordinate preparations for handing possible Ebola cases in Lithuania.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a severe and often lethal disease caused by Ebola viruses. First instances of the disease were reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan in 1976.

The diseases starts with high fever, headaches, muscle and joint pains and weakness, causing vomit, diarrhea, stomach ache and gradually internal and external bleeding, which leads to failure kidney, liver and other organs. Some 50-90 percent of patients die.

According to the latest statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO), about 4,800 people have died in the Ebola outbreak and another 13,000 are infected.

Ebola outbreaks have been established in eight African countries, with Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone affected the worst.

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