Strict immigration control required to prevent Ebola from entering Vietnam

Friday, 2019-07-26 10:27:37
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Infrared body temperature meters used to control disease at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat airport. (Photo: VNA)
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NDO – Vietnam has strengthened control measures in preventing Ebola from entering Vietnam by closely monitoring immigrants, especially those arriving from countries with Ebola outbreaks.

The General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health (MoH) have sent official letters to local health departments in relevant provinces and cities nationwide, urging for strengthened efforts in the prevention and control of Ebola, with the focus on closely monitoring immigrants, especially those coming from countries with outbreaks of the viral disease.

Amidst the complex development of Ebola in Congo, especially after the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the outbreak as an international emergency last week, the Vietnam MoH has directed its units to actively prevent and fight against Ebola virus entering the country.

According to WHO, 2,522 cases have been recorded in Congo since April 2018, including 1,698 deaths. In particular, on June 11, 2019, a Ugandan person was infected with Ebola after returning from Congo.

So far, Vietnam has not recorded any cases of Ebola virus. However, the risk of Ebola infiltrating into Vietnam through passengers coming from epidemic areas is entirely possible.

In order to proactively detect and prevent the epidemic from entering Vietnam, the General Department of Preventive Medicine has requested local health services to closely supervise people on entry and pay attention to those arriving from countries with Ebola epidemics.

When detecting cases of suspected Ebola, those with a history of travelling from the epidemic areas within 21 days, it is necessary to isolate them and take samples to send to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology or the Institute Pasteur in Ho Chi Minh City for laboratory testing.

Local health departments were asked to organise communications and health education for tourists and locals in the border areas on measures to prevent and fight Ebola.

In addition, it is necessary to strengthen prevention and control of infection and cross-infection at hospitals when receiving, examining and treating patients at medical facilities, while paying attention to utilising the history of patients returning from areas with epidemic prevalence for early detection and timely isolation and treatment.

Local health departments also need to regularly provide health workers with updates on epidemic diseases and the monitoring, prevention and treatment of Ebola virus.