ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dealing with Ebola

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the spread of the Ebola infection in west Africa an international health emergency. In the meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the director general under the International Health Regulations (IHR), WHO reached the consent that a coordinated international response is vital to stop and reverse the spread of the virus. The Emergency Committee declared that the Ebola outbreak in west Africa is “a public health risk to other states” and “the 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”.

States have been told to ensure that appropriate medical care is available for staff of airlines operating in the country and work with the airlines to facilitate and harmonise communications and management regarding symptomatic passengers under the IHR (2005), set up mechanisms for contact tracing if required and use passenger locator records where appropriate. They have also been asked to conduct exit screening of all persons at international airports, seaports and major land crossings, for unexplained febrile illness consistent with potential Ebola infection. In India, two centres in Pune and D­elhi have been e­stablished to investigate and find out the potential cases for infection.

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