Bangladesh on alert for EBOLA virus

Bangladesh has issued an alert against deadly Ebola virus for three months, days after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the epidemic an international health emergency.

“Medical teams would monitor the international airports in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet and also the seaport in Chittagong during the next 90 days as part of precautions,” said a health ministry statement published in Dhaka on Monday said.

Health officials said the medical teams would advise the people coming from the West African countries to contact a designated army-run hospital on the outskirts of the capital where a 20-bed special ward would be set up.

The state-run Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), however, said the earlier issued travel restrictions on Ebola patients and the absence of direct air links with the affected West African countries made the deadly virus making its way to Bangladesh a remote possibility.

IEDCR Director Prof Mahmudur Rahman said the countries where the virus has spread are already screening the people going to other countries as per the WHO guidelines, but Bangladesh took the steps as additional cautionary measures. The WHO recently declared the spread of Ebola virus as an international health emergency, saying the epidemic was an “extraordinary event” and now constituted an international health risk.

Ebola causes severe fever and, in the worst cases, unstoppable bleeding. It is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids, and people who live with or care for patients are most at risk.

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