Ebola: Indian health minister calls emergency meeting

Detailed plan in the works for tackling any emergency arising out of deadly disease outbreak in Africa

 
By Kundan Pandey
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

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India's health minister, Harsh Vardhan, on Tuesday chaired a meeting of senior officers from different ministries at his office to discuss the strategy for Ebola virus disease spreading through Africa

The minister said India is not at high risk, but there is need of strengthening the system, including screening and immediate response. Many Indians travel to affected countries. The countries facing Ebola epidemic are—Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.

In the meeting, Harsh Vardhan emphasised the need of strengthening laboratories for testing samples, in case any suspected case comes to light. 

The minister also reviewed preparedness in case of an emergency. It is expected that the ministry will soon issue a detailed plan for tackling any emergency arising out of Ebola spread. 

Recently, Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP), which looks out for disease outbreaks, had issued an advisory to keep vigil for the disease. The IDSP advisory wad for state health intelligence officials and to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). 

Airports Authority of India has also instructed airports across the country to set up screening facilities at arrival terminals to nip mounting fears of an Ebola outbreak in the bud. 

The deadly Ebola outbreak that began in February this year and has claimed more than 700 lives in three countries in West Africa is now spreading. The present outbreak, believed to have been caused by the Zaire strain (the deadliest of six known Ebola strains), is officially the longest and largest outbreak of the disease ever.

 

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