The Public Health Department has requested the airports in the State to provide alerts about passengers coming from certain African countries where there has been an outbreak of Ebola virus.

Mortality rate

The disease, which has spread through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, has so far claimed more than 350 lives, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). There is no cure for the disease which had a mortality rate of 90 per cent. This meant for every ten patients who were infected with Ebola, only one was likely to survive.

S. Somasundaram, Deputy Director of Health Services, told The Hindu here on Tuesday that while there were no direct flights from the African countries to the city, the health officials have been alerted as Coimbatore was a major hub which witnessed a large volume of international travellers.

Health workers and paramedical staff of Government hospitals and primary health centres have been trained to spot the symptoms.

Screening

Once an airport alerts the Health Department of a passenger with symptoms such as running nose, muscle pain, and chest pain combined with fever, a medical team would swiftly screen the passenger and take samples of the blood. If the Ebola was confirmed, the person would be immediately isolated as it could be transmitted through direct human-to-human contact with blood or bodily fluids from an infected person.

Nodal officers would be appointed in Government hospitals to coordinate with the Health Department for Ebola cases. Isolation wards would also be set up, the Deputy Director added.

While no case had been reported in India so far, he said that precautions were being to deal with all contingencies. As the disease had no cure, the Health Department’s efforts were being directed towards preventing it, Mr. Somasundaram said.