ISLAMABAD: As the Ebola outbreak has been reported in some parts of Africa, the Ministry of National Health Services has directed strict surveillance at international airports and other entry points to isolate suspected patients.

On the directions of the International Health Regulations (IHR), the ministry has directed the Border and Health Services Department to ensure screening of passengers coming from other countries, especially African continent and isolate those with any symptoms of Ebola.

Minister of Health Abdul Qadir Patel, in a statement, said Uganda had declared Ebola as pandemic and chances were that the virus would enter into Pakistan through patients or passengers.

The surveillance has been increased on the directions of the IHR and all possible steps will be taken to safeguard the people, Mr Patel added.

Ministry directs Border and Health Services Department to isolate suspected passengers coming from other countries, especially Africa

He said passengers coming into the country will be passed through thermal screening.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Ugandan health authorities have declared an outbreak of Ebola, caused by Sudan virus, following laboratory confirmation.

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rare and deadly disease in humans and non-human primates. The viruses that cause the disease are located mainly in sub-Saharan Africa — African countries that are south of the Sahara desert.

The symptoms of Ebola are fever, ache and pains such as severe headache and muscle and joint pain, weakness and fatigue, sore throat, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting, and unexplained haemorrhaging, bleeding or bruising.

The threat of Ebola comes months after the ministry asked federal and provincial authorities to remain vigilant as monkeypox cases were reported all over the world.

In May, the National Institute of Health (NIH) had issued an advisory for national and provincial health authorities to remain on high alert for suspected monkeypox cases.

The advisory directed the health authorities to remain vigilant and monitor airports and other points of entry and conduct medical screenings to identify infected passengers.

The steps were taken after reports of a suspected case of monkeypox in the country began circulating on social media. Later, the NIH had clarified that no case of the virus was been reported in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2022

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