The Vietnamese Ministry of Health has called on local authorities nationwide to make more efforts, including setting up mobile anti-epidemic teams, to prevent a penetration of the deadly Ebola virus that has killed nearly 4,500 people in Africa.
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In a urgent message sent to all the chairpersons of all provinces and cities on Wednesday, health deputy minister Nguyen Thanh Long asked them to direct local health departments to closely monitor visitors who come to Vietnam from African countries and to be ready for actions in case an Ebola infection is identified in Vietnam.
Besides strictly applying health declaration to all visitors from six African countries Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Congo and Senegal, all the local health authorities must equip health facilities with all necessary equipment, chemicals and medicine so that they can effectively respond to a possible Ebola outbreak.
Health workers must be provided with safety clothes and devices.
Every province and city should set up a mobile anti-epidemic team that is well-equipped to effectively deal with Ebola outbreaks in emergency cases.
The ministry recently had an urgent meeting with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) asking them to assist Vietnam in conducting Ebola tests at local laboratories, Long said.
The ministry also asked all health departments to be well-prepared to follow three scenarios.
Accordingly, scenario 1 is the situation in which all concerned agencies will use necessary means to detect early signs of the Ebola virus disease (EVD), including the health declaration requirement.
Meanwhile, scenario 2 takes place when the virus begins to penetrate into Vietnam and health agencies will promptly treat patients to avoid mortality, and take measures to prevent the virus from spreading.
In scenario 3, the EVD has spread in Vietnam and competent agencies will mobilize all possible resources to curb the spread of the virus, and continue treating patients effectively to minimize deaths.
Ebola is a highly fatal virus that can kill 90 percent of infected people, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health warned, adding that Ebola infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people.
As a severe acute viral illness, the EVD is often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, according to the WHO.
According to statistics released by the WHO on Wednesday, a total of 4,493 people have died from the world's worst Ebola outbreak on record as of October 12, Reuters reported Wednesday.
A total of 8,997 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola had been reported in seven countries, with the majority of these in the West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, Reuters said.