Kofi Annan: Media need to watch how they portray Ebola

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The Former U.N. Secretary General has warned that a "dark cloud" could be cast over Africa if the press continued its scaremongering over Ebola.

So far, the disease is only an epidemic in three countries in Africa and branding the problem as "African" or even "West African" is inaccurate, Kofi Annan told CNBC.

"I think first of all the press has to be very clear that Africa is a huge continent with over 50 countries, so far it is three countries that we are focusing on," Annan said.

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"When they say Africa or West Africa already you have people who would think Africa is one big jungle somewhere, so if you don't differentiate, you cast a dark cloud over the whole continent," he said.

The Nobel Peace laureate said the African countries affected by the disease – Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia - already have to deal with a negative economic "name badge" as a result of the deadly virus and so the media need to very clear on the way they report Ebola-related events.

"Flights are down, people are not travelling in that region very much and so we need to put the facts out but not exaggerate and avoid scaremongering, there's a lot of scaremongering and fear going on," he said.

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The outbreak has killed more than 4,500 people so far, with around 70 percent of those infected dying in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Nigeria was declared officially free of Ebola earlier this week by the WHO, after six weeks with no new cases, receiving praise for its swift response to the outbreak after a Liberian diplomat brought the disease there in July.

Annan, who was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations said he was "bitterly disappointed" that the international community has not responded faster to the Ebola crisis, as the public health systems in three African countries affected have now "collapsed".

"One would really have to try and revamp it and build it (the public health systems) up very quickly," he added

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