Govt taking precautionary steps to tackle Ebola virus outbreak

Govt taking precautionary steps to tackle Ebola virus outbreak

In view of the outbreak of Ebola Virus in four countries of West Africa, the government is taking precautionary measures to deal with any case of the deadly disease though the risk of its transmission to India is “low” as of now,  Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told both Houses of Parliament on Wednesday.

The government, however, advised that people should defer their “non-essential” travel to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria till the situation is brought under control in these countries hit by the outbreak of the deadly virus.

Though there is no vaccine or curative therapy for the disease, the minister said, its outbreak can be contained through early detection and isolation of cases, contact tracing and monitoring and following rigorous procedures for infection control, if such cases were reported in India. 

Apprising parliamentarians of the measures being taken by the government, the minister said there will be designated facilities at the “relevant” airports and ports to screen travellers having symptoms of the disease while all the state disease surveillance units have already been alerted. 

“As a matter of abundant precaution, however, we would be obtaining the details of travellers originating or transiting from Ebola-affected countries to India from the concerned airlines and our missions abroad,” he added.

While mandatory self-reporting by the passengers coming from or transiting through the affected countries would be required at the time of immigration check, the surveillance system will be geared up to track these travellers for four weeks and to detect them early, in case they develop symptoms. In-flight announcements for self reporting of the symptoms would be made by the airlines, he said. 

Advisories had already been issued to the state disease surveillance units, asking them to remain alert for early detection and management of cases. The Indian Medical Association will inform all the members about the diagnostic and treatment protocols, he said. 

The laboratory capacity has been strengthened at the National Institute of Virology, Pune and National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi to diagnose the disease.

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