Advisory on effective prevention of Ebola virus issued

ISLAMABAD: Ebola is a rare but deadly virus that causes bleeding inside and outside the body. As the virus spreads through the body, it damages the immune system and organs. It causes levels of blood-clotting cells to drop. This leads to severe, uncontrollable bleeding. The disease kills up to 90 percent of the people who are infected. The disease can spread from country to country when people travel. It spreads to people by contact with the skin, or bodily fluids of an infected animal, like a monkey, chimp, or a fruit bat. Then it moves from person to person. Other ways to get Ebola include touching contaminated needles or surfaces. You can’t get this disease from air, water, or food. A person who has Ebola but no symptoms cant spread the disease.The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination has issued an advisory to the chief secretaries of all the provinces and relevant stakeholders to take steps on urgent basis for effective prevention of the Ebola virus disease.According to the ministry’s sources, the provincial officials have been asked that in the absence of effective treatment and a human vaccine, raising awareness of the risk factors for the Ebola infection and the protective measures which the individuals can take is the only way to reduce human infection and death.The ministry advised to reduce the risk of human-to-human transmission on the community arising from direct or close contact with the infected patients, particularly with their bodily fluids.The ministry also recommended that close physical contacts with the Ebola patients should be avoided and gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn when taking care of the ill patients at home. The sources said that the ministry recommended that regular hand washing is required after visiting Ebola patients in the hospital, as well as taking care of the patients at home. Similarly, the health-care workers caring for the patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola virus should apply, in addition to standard precautions, other infection control measures to avoid any exposure to the patient’s blood and body fluids and direct unprotected contact with the possibly contaminated environment.They said that the advisory has been issued after taking notice of the minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination of unprecedented outbreak of the Ebola virus disease, currently speeding in West Africa (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) with the cases of 1,378, including 746 deaths with fatality rate of up to 90 percent. They said that the threat and potential for rapid spread in the region remains high, due to frequent movement of people between the affected countries related to trade and transit etc. They also said that its travel associated spread and risk of importation of the disease calls for immediate necessary measures. According to the medical experts, Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe acute viral illness often characterised by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases both internal and external bleeding, they added. 

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