The Ebola outbreak has officially claimed about 5000 lives and most recently a confirmed case was reported in New York. How prepared is India for an Ebola outbreak? How scared do we need to be?

Are We Prepared to Battle Ebola in India?Ebola virus India EBOLA HITS NEW YORK CITY

  1. Ebola is a veritable modern plague and a a possible outbreak terrifies people. The reason is that the disease has a horrific death rate – about 70% of those who contract Ebola die. It is a disease that is difficult to identify because its initial symptoms can be mistaken for several other infections such as malaria, certain hemorrhagic fevers and cholera.
  2. Nearly 5000 people have died so far from Ebola infections and the official count of total infections as per the WHO is in the region of 10,000. However the apprehension is that the actual toll may be much higher; as much as three times higher. There are apprehensions that the actual worldwide Ebola death toll may be as high as 15,000 people.
  3. According to latest reports, Ebola has now hit New York. A New York doctor, Craig Spencer has tested positive for the disease, making this the first case of Ebola in the city and the fourth person in the US to be diagnosed. The doctor had recently returned from New Guinea where he had been treating Ebola patients. He tested positive on Thursday morning. (Source – Huffington Post)
  4. African countries have reported the most cases of Ebola so far. The West African country of Mali confirming its first Ebola case yesterday. According to the WHO, a vast majority of Ebola infections and deaths resulting from those infections have been reported from African countries such as Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leon. Smaller outbreaks in counties such as Senegal and Nigeria have been successfully contained.
  5. This has also led to the authorities in the United States tightening monitoring of visitors from West Africa, who are required to monitor their temperature daily and keep in touch with health authorities.
  6. The apprehension that Ebola may spread to India is not an unrealistic one, and concerned authorities are taking stock of the situation. Travel surveillance is to be stepped up so that cases of Ebola can be identified and isolated. So far, surveillance systems such as thermal have been installed and mock drills have been conducted at airports. So far 22,000 passengers have been screened but no Indian Ebola cases have been reported so far (Source – Reuters)
  7. A 5 point program has been directed to be in place at Indian airports: (a) screening of arrivals from West African nations (b) asking passengers several questions at various points (c) tight vigil by customs and immigration officials (d) airports equipped with facilities to tackle any situation (e) quick coordination with IMA doctors upon detection. (Source – India Today)
  8. One passenger suspected of having the virus has been quarantined by health authorities and was taken away from IGI airport by medics but had since tested negative for the infection. (source – The Hindu)
  9. As of now there appears to be no immediate threat of an Ebola outbreak in India and the possibility of it spreading to India are low; but we can remain safe only if authorities and people remain vigilant and so long as we disseminate correct information about the disease.Ebola India EBOLA HITS NEW YORK CITY

Image 1 source India TV News, Image 2 source The Hindu

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