But don’t worry. The risk is low.

Almost 700 people have died in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone over the past four months and there is no cure for the virus, with the World Health Organisation warning that drastic action is needed to stop it spreading internationally.

And although it is unlikely to ever reach Australia – or New Zealand – authorities are prepared.

In Australia, border protection agencies are on the lookout for sick people who could be carrying the disease and GPs and other clinicians have been briefed to stay vigilant.

Health experts in NZ have also made plans to manage the virus.

Despite the preparations, Professor Chris Baggoley, Australia’s chief health officer, says there is no need for panic, describing the risk as “really very low”.

“The [air] passenger would need to have visited Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia, in particular,” he told 774 ABC Melbourne.

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