BHUBANESWAR : As many as 69 people, who have come to Odisha from Ebola-hit West African countries recently, are being tracked by health authorities as deadly disease assumes monstrous shape.
The people have been put on 30-day quarantine as per protocol and are being closely monitored for any suspected symptoms. The passengers also include returnee soldiers from the UN Peace Keeping Force units deployed in Western Africa. “We have kept them under surveillance and till date none have shown any symptoms related to Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Those who came in August have completed their 30-day isolation, others who arrived in September are nearing the date,” State nodal officer for EVD Dr Bikash Patnaik said.
With the WHO issuing global alert on EVD and the UN forming the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) to strengthen response against the disease, feared to rise to 10,000 cases a week, prevention has become key for India which lacks proper health capabilities.
Union Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth on Thursday held a meeting with Chief Secretaries and Health Secretaries of all States to review preparedness against EVD. Chief Secretary Gokul Chandra Pati, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Kumar Mohapatra and Health Secretary Arati Ahuja apprised them of preventive steps taken in Odisha. While passenger screening is being undertaken at airports and protocol tracking of passengers reporting the disease is being done, close watch is being kept on the ports too. Port authorities have been moved for protocol checking and screening of vessels that have come from or touched affected regions.
The State Government has also designated the SCB MCH, Cuttack, as the nodal centre for EVD. An specialised EVD unit is being set up. Site for the isolation and case management facility has been identified and will be ready soon.
An Emergency control room has been set up and necessary PPE (Personnel Protection Equipment) are being arranged from the Centre.
Request has been made to upgrade the existing laboratory of ICMR, Bhubaneswar to BSL-III level for effective detection, testing and handling of Ebola virus.