After days of widespread speculation, health officials in Uzbekistan have reportedly advised that wrestlers from the Ebola-stricken region of West Africa not be invited to the upcoming world championships.
The health ministry issued its recommendation less than two weeks before the start of the competition in Tashkent, according to the RIA Novosti news service.
“Given the current Ebola-related epidemiological situation, we have recommended the organizing committee of the championship abstain from inviting athletes from Ebola-hit West African countries,” a ministry representative was quoted as saying.
As of last week, the World Health Organization had estimated a total of 2,615 Ebola cases -- and 1,427 deaths -- in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The virus can only be transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, or through indirect contact with environments contaminated by such fluids.
West African athletes were banned from combat and water sports at the Youth Olympic Games, which conclude on Thursday.
The international wrestling federation had asked that all athletes be allowed to compete in Uzbekistan. The championships are scheduled for Sept. 8-14.