Maharashtra Gears Up to Detect Ebola-Infected Air Passengers

Maharashtra government has deployed ambulances available with the state emergency medical service at the city's international airport to shift suspected Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) passengers.

Two ambulances of Maharashtra State Emergency Medical Service (MEMS 108) have been stationed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport here following directives from the Centre's International Health Division of the Directorate General of Health Services to the Airport Health Officer (APHO) for necessary vigilance at all international entry points, officials in the state Health Department said.

The Centre has asked the international health division to collect information with help of APHO of the concerned airport about the list of suspected passengers if any and their relevant details like address and contact numbers.

Ten beds have been reserved in each of the medical college hospitals of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

The state has communicated to all medical officers to be prepared to handle any eventuality in the wake of the EVD outbreak.

The state has communicated the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune to provide diagnostic facility for EVD. NIV has approved of the same, officials said.

Officials said the risk of a tourist or businessman/ woman becoming infected with Ebola virus during a visit to the affected areas and developing disease after returning is extremely low even if the visit included travel to the local areas from which primary cases have been reported.

The disease is transmitted through direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animal, all unlikely exposures for the average traveller. But tourists are in any event advised to avoid all such contact, officials said.

Its symptoms include fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes and in some cases bleeding. Cases of Ebola have been recently confirmed in west African countries. There is no licensed vaccine and careful hygiene needs to be practised, they added.

According to the officials, gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn while taking care of ill patients at home and dead patients should for cremation/ burial under bio-safety precautions. Ebola cases for diagnosis should be handled by trained staff and processed in suitably equipped laboratories.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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