No need to panic as Ebola is not air-borne, preparations in place, says NIV director

There is no drug so far that can kill the virus and treatment is symptomatic to ensure that the body does not get dehydrated.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Published: August 27, 2014 3:59:32 am
ebolaaa NIV-AFMC joint exersice on Ebola preparedness at AFMC. (Source: Express photo by Arul Horizon)

National Institute of Virology (NIV) Director Dr Devendra Mourya assured that cases of ebola virus disease (EVD) will not occur in large numbers as it is not an air borne infection. “Moreover, there is a high level of preparedness,” Mourya added. On Tuesday, a joint exercise by the NIV and Armed Forces Medical College was organised to drive home the message that there was no need to panic.

“Unlike H1N1 virus, the EVD is not an air-borne infection. There is no reason to worry,” Mourya said as the NIV team wearing personal protective equipment simulated the hospital setting for a hypothetical Ebola case at the Armed Forces Medical College on Tuesday. The team from NIV demonstrated the rapid response of NIV scientists to the patient’s bed-side, point of care aspects, sample collection and transport to the Bio Safety Laboratory (BSL) 4 lab, following the guidelines released by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The drill was carried out in the presence of AFMC doctors, KEM and Sassoon general hospital doctors, officials of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) besides state and district health officials. The main points included rapid response in patient quarantine, disinfection strategies, awareness and field training of paramedical or medical personnel on Ebola case management, proper data and sample collection procedures, preventive measures to be taken by nursing and primary healthcare responders and a demonstration of personnel protection gear by specialized teams and medical staffers.

Person to person transmission of Ebola virus occurs on direct contact through blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected persons, putting healthcare workers and the community at risk. A strict compliance with bio-safety guidelines is required to prevent an epidemic, Mourya added.

There is no drug so far that can kill the virus and treatment is symptomatic to ensure that the body does not get dehydrated. The travel history of people arriving from Ebola affected countries in West Africa is being scrutinised. According to Dr Pradip

Awate, state surveillance officer, a total of 66 people have arrived from Liberia on different flights since Sunday.

Mourya said that they have tested five samples so far and all have tested negative for Ebola. These included samples from doctors who had treated patients with Ebola in Nigeria. “We have been alerted about people who have arrived from Liberia in the country. While no samples have been sent so far, we are geared up to tackle any case,” NIV officials said.

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