Over 44,000 Indians in Ebola-affected countries

Indian armed forces posted in the African countries advised to take precautions; people travelling to India from these countries are being watched for symptoms, says Union health minister, Harsh Vardhan

 
By Jyotsna Singh
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan informed the Members of Parliament that the armed forces would be taking action to suitably advise their personnel in the affected region for appropriate health precautions Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday informed Parliament that all precautionary measures are being taken by India to ward off threat of Ebola disease. Indians living in the four affected West African nations will be called back in case the situation worsens, he said.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, there are 4,700 Indians in the most affected countries. There are 500 Indians in Republic of Guinea, 3,000 in Liberia and 1,200 in Sierra Leone (1200) from where maximum cases have been reported. The figure for Liberia includes about 300 personnel from the Indian Central Reserve Police Force, comprising largely women, as a part of the UN Peacekeeping operations. The fourth affected country, Nigeria, has a much larger presence with nearly 40,000 Indian citizens.

The minister informed the Members of Parliament that the armed forces would be taking action to suitably advise their personnel in the affected region for appropriate health precautions and to apprise them about reducing the risk of contracting this infection. Further, their personnel returning to India, on leave or otherwise, would be suitably tracked and monitored for symptoms by the armed forces.

The Director General of Health Services, Government of India, reviewed the situation on August 1, 2014. Thereafter, advisories were issued to the State Disease Surveillance Units to be on alert for early detection and management of travel-related cases reported from communities. Laboratory capacity was also strengthened at National Institute of Virology, Pune and National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi, to diagnose this viral disease.

As of August 4, 2014, World Health Organization has reported 1,603 cases, including 887 deaths, from the four West African nations.

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