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Vietnam issues highest level alert for Ebola

 VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam has issued its highest level alert in response to the Ebola epidemic as World Health Organisation experts report the epidemic is the worst in the 40-year history of West Africa.

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam has issued its highest level alert in response to the Ebola epidemic as World Health Organisation (WHO) experts report the epidemic is the worst in the 40-year history of West Africa.  

 

 

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At least 900 deaths have been blamed on the illness, with over 1,600 infected cases reported, said Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long.

Speaking at an August 6 online conference of the Steering Committee for Epidemic Prevention and Control, Dr. Tran Dac Phu, head of the Department of Preventive Medicines also warned that the virus could enter Vietnam through travellers arriving from affected countries.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has advised the Government on its preparations and asked that all border gates seek medical information from those passing through.

The National Hospital of Tropical Diseases is working on a plan for diagnosis and treatment of Ebola. Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien asked all agencies to tighten inspections at hospitals and border gates.

She warned Vietnamese to stop travelling to affected countries. All suspected samples of the disease can be sent to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and Pasteur Institute in HCM City, she added.

The MoH sent an urgent document to ask relevant ministries and agencies to co-ordinate the implementation of medical declarations at border gates. Accordingly, travellers from the four infected nations such as Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria must complete a medical declaration form before entering Vietnam.

If travellers display any suspected symptoms of Ebola, they should immediately be placed in isolation. These regulations will be applied as of August 15 at all international border gates.

The same day, MoH sent an urgent telegram to recommend the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) inform agencies who have staff working in the infected areas about the epidemic. The ministry asked that only essential personnel be sent to affected areas.

If officials have to travel to the infected areas, preventive measures should be taken under the MoH’s warning. MoH also asked MOFA to share information about travellers who come from these nations so that it can take precautionary measures.

Dr Phu emphasised that Ebola is an infectious acute disease which can spread rapidly with a fatality rate of up to 90% and has no cure or vaccines.  

To prevent contracting the disease, residents should avoid contact with blood or bodily fluids from infected persons or objects which might have been touched by someone infected. In the affected areas, people, who show symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat, diarrhoea, vomit, rash, should go to medical centres immediately for treatment.

The MoH also issued a guideline to monitor and prevent Ebola virus including concrete scenarios and preventive measures if the epidemic occurs in Vietnam to avoid spreading in the community. Meanwhile, Hanoi Department of Health Director Nguyen Khac Hien asked the Centre for International Health and Quarantine in Hanoi to increase monitoring and to stay on the alert.    

Hanoi steps up Ebola preventative measures

The Hanoi Health Department is strictly monitoring the highly aggressive and infectious Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) to prevent it from entering and spreading widely in Vietnam.

Director of the Department Dr. Nguyen Khac Hien also said medical centres should devise plans to prepare necessary medicines and equipment to timely cope with any breakout of EVD.

The health sector has also taken drastic measures to cope with dengue fever, hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD), hepatitis B, A/H5N1 and A/H7N9 avian influenza.

In addition, the sector has strengthened supervision over the quality of water resources in rural areas, stepped up communications on the disease and encouraged residents to take preventive measures. Over 1,300 cases of EVD have been reported in four West African countries. The disease has a fatality rate of over 50%. The epidemic show no sign of decreasing in these countries and it is most likely to spread to other nations according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

VOV/VNA/VNN

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