India on Ebola alert, Chennai case denied

August 11, 2014 - 12:12:14 am

New Delhi: The government yesterday said India was on a high alert for the Ebola virus even as it denied reports that a Chennai resident had been afflicted with it.

The health ministry, in coordination with the home and civil aviation ministries, is constantly tracking passengers arriving in India from west African countries affected by Ebola, an official statement said.

It said that though mandatory self-reporting is in place, health officers posted in identified international airports all over India are screening passengers getting off aircraft.

“Till now, all those arriving have been found to be healthy,” it added.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan denied reports of a “suspect” Ebola virus case in Chennai.

“The government of Tamil Nadu has informed the central government that a person had indeed landed at Chennai airport from Guinea on August 9. He was checked for symptoms and was found healthy,” he said.

A health ministry official said that a total of 200 calls had so far been received on helplines set up by the government.

The control room with helpline numbers 23063205, 23061469 and 23061302 became operational on Saturday morning.

The Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in the national capital has been identified for treatment and management of any case of Ebola.

India has nearly 45,000 nationals living in the four Ebola-affected west African nations, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

At the onset of the dreaded disease, a patient experiences fatigue, fever, headache, sore throat and pain in the joints and muscles.

The initial symptoms are so common that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US says cases are often misdiagnosed.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday declared the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in west Africa as an “international health emergency”.

“A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola,” the WHO said in a statement issued after a two-day meeting of its emergency committee.

It noted that the Ebola outbreak in west Africa constituted an “extraordinary event” and a public health risk to other countries.