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WHO issues ebola emergency alert across world
All precautions in place, no cause for panic, says Health Minister Harsh Vardhan
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8
The World Health Organization today declared Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa as a public health emergency of international concern and put out detailed advisories for countries to prevent their citizens from risk. India, meanwhile, ruled out cause for worry with Health Minister Harsh Vardhan saying, “There is no cause for worry. We have all the precautions in place. Please don't panic.”

Vardhan's principal concern would be to track 45,000 Indians in the affected Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The current outbreak was reported in Guinea in December last year and has since claimed 932 lives. No airborne transmission has ever been reported of the EVD, including this time.

WHO's decision came after a two-day meeting of its emergency committee which said, “Ebola outbreak in West Africa constituted an 'extraordinary event' and a public health risk to other States”. The committee concluded that the possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence of the virus, intensive community and health facility transmission patterns and the weak health systems in the currently affected and the most-at-risk countries. It called for a coordinated international response to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola. The EVD is a severe, often fatal illness, with case fatality rate of up to 90 per cent. It is one of the world’s most virulent diseases. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people. Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care.

Back in India, Vardhan said all ministries concerned -- aviation, defence and external affairs -- had been kept in the loop about plans to prevent the virus from entering India.

“For abundant precaution we will track persons transiting to or originating from the affected areas. All state governments have been alerted to appoint nodal officers. Facilities at airports are underway to isolate cases if at all there are any. Talks have been held with aviation ministry authorities to ensure in flight announcements for self reporting.”

The disease and its symptoms

The Ebola Virus Disease has fatality rate of up to 90%. It’s one of the world’s most virulent diseases
The infection is transmitted by direct contact with blood, body fluids & tissues of infected people
Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, vomitting, diarrhoea, rashes, impaired kidney and liver functions; external and internal bleeding
Lab findings include low white blood cells/platelet counts/ elevated liver enzymes
Incubation period (when person is not infective) two to 21 days

Nigeria declares state of emergency

The ebola outbreak has forced Nigeria's President to declare a national state of emergency
Seven confirmed cases of Ebola in Lagos
Large gatherings banned; schools told to extend summer break





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