WHO: Spread of Ebola in Europe ‘unavoidable’

The World Health Organization is warning Europe to prepare for more cases of Ebola due to the "unavoidable" spread of the virus through air travel. 

The first European diagnosis of Ebola took place Monday, when officials confirmed a Spanish nurse had contracted the disease. 

WHO European Director Zsuzsanna Jakab said new cases are very possible in the coming months. 

"Such imported cases and similar events as have happened in Spain will happen also in the future, most likely," Jakab told Reuters on Tuesday. "It will happen." 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued similar warnings to Americans, after a Liberian man arrived in Dallas with Ebola. 

So far, neither the WHO nor the United States has restricted travel to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, which are most affected by the Ebola outbreak. 

The decisions to hold off come in spite of pressure from critics who say travel bans must be imposed to lower the risk of the disease spreading. 

Some airlines have chosen to suspend flying to West Africa on their own accord, but health officials have warned against shutting off the region altogether, saying it would slow response efforts. 

Jakab said that, despite probable new cases, Europe is prepared to cope with an outbreak. 

"The most important thing in our view is that Europe is still at low risk and that the western part of the European region particularly is the best prepared in the world to respond to viral hemorrhagic fevers including Ebola,” Jakab said.