Published : Monday, 11 August, 2014 11:45 AM
MBA aspirants must be updated with General Awareness on current topics. General awareness topics with analytically drawn conclusions will benefit you in Essay writing / GD & PI. Today, you will read General Awareness Topic: Ebola Threat : India Takes Preventive Action !
Ebola virus epidemic, which has gripped four West African countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria, has so far killed more than 960 people while affecting more than 1600 others. With the fatality rate of up to 90 percent, Ebola had gained the world attention after World Health Organization (WHO) declared it an international public health emergency. As of now, there are no drugs available for the treatment of virus.
The virus got it named after River Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo where one of its first outbreaks occurred in 1976. Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fever which is explained by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as group of viruses affecting multiple organs of the body often causing bleeding.
The outbreak has not just become the threat to the life of citizens in West African countries, but to also its economy. Many companies have stalled their projects in affected region citing safety concerns. Arcelor Mittal had delayed its plans to expand its iron-ore mine operations in Liberia while the British Airways has cancelled its flights to West Africa.
The disease is highly contagious and it is bound to spread across Africa and other continents if adequate preventive measures are not taken. In humans, disease can be transmitted by blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected person, handling meat from infected animals, bodily fluids of an infected person who died. Attendants who take care of sick person or those who bury the person died from disease often get infected. As the virus is highly contagious and fatal, migratory populations are most likely to get infected and transmit the virus.
Though there are no direct flights from India to the affected countries in Africa, but people including both Indians and Africans travel between affected countries and India making transmission of disease in India possible. Therefore several international airports in India including those at Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Chennai have started screening the patients arriving from affected countries. On August 9, 2014, a suspected Ebola case was detected at Chennai Airport when a man coming from Republic of Guinea showed few symptoms including red and rash eyes besides usual flu symptoms.
In order to prevent the entry of disease into India, Central government had started maintaining intense surveillance of Ebola. A control room with helpline numbers 23063205, 23061469 and 23061302 is made operational. The World Health Organisation (WHO) earlier had informed that one Indian passenger had travelled on the same flight in which an Ebola virus patient (a foreign national) was travelling from Monrovia to Lagos and that Indian passenger is back in India. Later officials tracked that patient and found that he wasn't affected by the virus.
The government has already started tracking passengers arriving from the affected countries by the Airport Health Organizations on the basis of information provided by Ministry of External Affairs. It is also tracking and monitoring the health of such passengers. The government has advised Indians against non-essential travel to the four West African countries – Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, which form the epicentre of Ebola Virus Disease. National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has shared the information about virus and symptoms to all metro cities in the country.
In Mumbai also, Emergency Medical Service is stationed at the airport in case any suspected case of virus is detected. The state health department has also reserved 10 beds in each of the three Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) run medical college hospitals and has asked all medical officers to remain on standby for any eventuality in wake of the Ebola outbreak.
Symptoms of Ebola that occur within 2 to 21 days after infection include high fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, sore throat, weakness, stomach pain, lack of appetite etc. With the worsening of the disease, additional symptoms like bleeding from mouth, ears and nose, bloody diarrhoea, rashes appears. As no vaccine is available against Ebola as of now, basic hygiene is important to prevent its spread. Since no confirmed case of Ebola is reported in India, there is no need for the panic, but preventives measures are required to keep the disease at safe distance.
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