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10 visitors from Ebola-hit areas enter Vietnam daily: health dept

An average of ten visitors entered Vietnam every day from Ebola-stricken areas in Africa over the past ten days, but no infection of the deadly virus has so far been found, a state health agency said Friday.

Medical staff working with Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) put on their protective gear before entering an isolation area at the MSF Ebola treatment centre in Kailahun July 20, 2014.
Medical staff working with Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) put on their protective gear before entering an isolation area at the MSF Ebola treatment centre in Kailahun July 20, 2014.

From August 16 to 28, the country received 128 air passengers who came from Nigeria and Liberia, two of the African countries that have been seriously affected by the deadly Ebola virus, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Health’s Preventive Health Department.

Of these people, 124 arrived in the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and the remaining four landed at the Noi Bai International Airport in Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi, said Tran Dac Phu, the department’s head.

Of the 128 visitors, 30 are Vietnamese who returned home from Liberia while all the others are Nigerian nationals.

So far, the health ministry  has required all visitors coming to Vietnam from the Ebola-hit nations, including Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in West Africa, and Congo in Central African to fill out health declaration forms as a measure to prevent the spread of the fatal virus.

Accordingly, the health declaration will be applied to those who have left these five countries for less than 21 days before arriving in Vietnam.

Such duration is set out because Ebola virus disease (EVD) has an incubation period ranging from two to 21 days, the ministry explained.

No Ebola infection case has been recorded in Vietnam so far, but local competent agencies, including authorities at international airports in Hanoi, Da Nang City and Ho Chi Minh City, are taking necessary measures to prevent a possible penetration of the deadly virus, Phu said.

On August 20, the HCMC Tropical Diseases Hospital released two Nigerian men, 34 and 32 years old, after doctors confirmed they were free from the deadly Ebola virus, he said.

The two foreign were isolated on August 19 after they were found running a fever when they arrived at Tan Son Nhat International Airport the same day.

At least 3,069 suspected and confirmed cases, including 1,552 deaths, have been recorded in Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea since it was first detected in the remote jungles of southeast Guinea in March this year, WHO said.

In addition to these four West African countries, the fatal virus has spread to Senegal, making it the fifth country in the region affected by the EVD, WHO said.

Ebola is a highly dangerous virus that has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent, said the Vietnamese Ministry of Health.

The EVD is often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headaches, and a sore throat, the ministry added.