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Indian Health Minister warns of Ebola virus

India Blooms News Service | | 08 Aug 2014, 03:49 pm
New Delhi, Aug 8 (IBNS) Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, whose ministry earlier issued advisory on the deadly Ebola virus, said the virus could reach India if carried by expat Indians in the West African nations returning to India.

According to rough estimates, about 45,000 Indian nationals were working in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria where there is an outbreak of Ebola killing over 900 people.

"If the situation worsens in the affected countries, there could be a possibility of these Indians travelling back to India," Vardhan was quoted in NDTV saying. "While the risk of Ebola virus cases in India is low, preparedness measures are in place to deal with any case of the virus imported to India," he said.

The UN health agency on Wednesday began an emergency meeting of international medical and health experts in Geneva to review the current Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa amid reports that new cases and deaths continue to be reported in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

Between 2 and 4 August 2014, a total of 108 new cases of Ebola virus disease (laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 45 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, according to the latest update released on Wednesday by the UN World Health Organization (WHO).

The breakdown from the four countries was reported as follows: Guinea, 10 new cases and 5 deaths; Liberia, 48 new cases and 27 deaths; Nigeria, 5 new cases and 0 deaths; and Sierra Leone, 45 new cases and 13 deaths.

As of 4 August 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to Ebola in the four countries stands at 1, 711, including 932 deaths.

Ebola virus disease is rare. Disease is spread by contact with body fluids of an infected person or a diseased animal or by coming in contact with contaminated objects.

The disease is characterized by symptoms such as fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash and in some cases bleeding.

Persons who come in direct contact of body fluids of infected person or infected animal are at risk.

There is no vaccine or drugs.

Implementation of supportive therapy may increase the chances of survival.

Advisory for families and travelers returning to India:

ï‚· If you have stayed in the areas where Ebola cases have been recently reported, self-monitor your health for occurrence of symptoms (like fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, rash and red eyes) for 30 days.

ï‚· If you develop symptoms before travel, defer your travel and report to health facility

ï‚· In case you develop symptoms on flight report to the airlines crew.

ï‚· After disembarkation report to airport health officer.

ï‚· In case you suffer from any such illness after reaching home, immediately report to the nearest designated health facility for prompt management.