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Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation gears up to tackle Ebola scare

Saturday, 9 August 2014 - 6:55am IST | Agency: dna

WHO declares the outbreak an international public health emergency

The city is gearing up to address the threat of Ebola virus. On Friday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC's) public health department held a meeting with infectious diseases experts from city's leading public and private hospitals to chart out an action plan.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) had intimated on Thursday that 50-60 families from Liberia, one of the affected African nations, may fly down to India.

The BMC said that it had informed the officials at the Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport to keep a vigil on passengers with travel history to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. "We have asked the airport authorities to provide us with contact details of all passengers with a travel history to these four countries within the last 20 days. We will conduct screening of these travellers for Ebola-related symptoms," said Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer, BMC.

The virus stays in the human body from two hours till up to 20 days without showing symptoms.

Suspected symptomatic patients with a travel history will be admitted to BMC-run trauma care centre in Jogeshwari. "Suspected patients will be admitted to the Jogeshwari trauma care centre as it is close to the airport. Blood samples of suspected patients will be sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV) for testing within 24 hours," said Dr Mangala Gomare, head, epidemiology cell, BMC.

On Friday, World Health Organization (WHO) declared Ebola outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The BMC is in the process of procuring head-to-toe personal protective equipment (PPE) for its staff, who may come in contact with Ebola-suspected passengers. "We are training our staff to tackle any emergency. Also, ten beds have been set aside at Kasturba Hospital of Infectious Diseases in Chinchpokli for quarantine of confirmed cases if any," said Dr Keskar.

The BMC has appealed to the masses to maintain hygiene and sanitation as the virus spreads through contact with infected blood or body fluids.

Symptoms of Ebola disease
Mild symptoms of fever, headache, weakness, diarrhoea and joint and muscle aches, which will worsen between two and 21 days into haemorrhage (internal bleeding), difficulty in breathing and eventually failure of kidney or liver
90% of effected people don't survive
There is no specific treatment procedure or vaccination against Ebola
It spreads through direct contact with blood, body fluids and secretions of infected persons and animals, dead or alive

What WHO says about the situation
Ebola outbreak in West Africa constitutes an 'extraordinary event' and a public health risk to other states
Possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence of the virus, the intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the weak health systems in the currently affected and most at-risk countries.
A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola.

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