Ebola: India 'prepared' to handle threat

Burial in Monrovia, Liberia, 24 Oct Image copyright EPA
Image caption Liberia remains the worst affected country, with 4,665 cases

India is prepared to deal with any cases of Ebola, the highly infectious virus, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said.

More than 10,000 people have contracted the Ebola virus, with 4,922 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation's latest figures.

All but 27 of the cases have occurred in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

There are fears that the virus will spread unchecked if it arrives in India.

Mr Vardhan told BBC Hindi that thermal scanners and a "virus tracking equipment" had been installed at 18 airports and steps taken to track and isolate passengers suspected to be carrying the virus.

"We have made provisions to quarantine passengers with Ebola-like symptoms and keep them under observation for the mandatory 21 days in isolated [hospital] wards."

Mr Vardhan said trained health workers had been provided with protective gear to deal with patients.

He said India had isolated a number of people coming from countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone at its airports and seaports.

On Saturday, an Indian woman, serving in Liberia as a UN peacekeeper, was isolated on arrival after she was found to be having "Ebola-like symptoms".

All the people isolated so far have tested negative for the disease.

Ebola virus disease (EVD)

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Media captionHow Ebola survivors’ blood is saving lives
  • Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
  • Spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva
  • Fatality rate can reach 90% - but current outbreak has mortality rate of about 70%
  • No proven vaccine or cure
  • Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be virus's natural host

Ebola special report

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