No need to panic about Ebola: Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Friday assured that there is no need to panic about the Ebola Virus which has become an epidemic in many African nations.

Concerns over the spread of this disease escalated when reports of three Indians being detained New Delhi came to light.

The trio had flown in from Ghana with an Ebola infected person on board.

“It is a normal precautionary measure to track any person traveling to the country from the affected areas. There is no cause for worry, no need to panic,” said Dr. Vardhan.

The health minister’s statement comes at a time when the World Health Organisation¬†(WHO) has declared the spread of Ebola an international health emergency.

The Ebola virus is transmitted to humans from infected animals like monkeys or fruit bats. It is acquired when a person comes in contact with infected blood or bodily fluids. Common symptoms of the disease include vomiting, high fever,diarrhoea, internal bleeding and damage to the nervous system.

As of now, there is no known vaccine or cure for this disease.

The spread of Ebola has had every nation on its toes, with reports saying that it is the deadliest outbreak of the disease in its 38-year history. Since February, the disease has claimed more than 900 lives in four West African countries.

Nearly 44, 000 Indians reside in the regions affected by the deadly disease. Though there has been no case of an Indian contracting the virus so far, Dr Vardhan maintained that they would do everything to prevent its spread in India.

The government swung into action and put precautionary measures in place in due consultations with the officials from the department of external affairs, home affairs, health and family welfare and civil aviation.

Travelers to India from affected areas are required to self-report during immigration. In-flight announcements informing passengers to report symptoms have been installed. Facilities at airports to manage travelers showing symptoms have been put in place. In the event that any of these travelers develop symptoms, a surveillance system has been set up to track them.

WHO officials say that it is not difficult for India to mitigate the risk provided the precautionary measures are followed.

“There is no high risk of spread of this disease in India in principle. It is currently in African region mainly. It is assessed to be low risk in India and outside Africa. But nevertheless, people travel, things can happen. India is equipped in terms of having all systems in place. However, what matters is, systems are working without any failure,” said Dr. Nata Menabde, WHO Representative to India.

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