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Ho Chi Minh City health authorities say watch out for Ebola

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health has called on all the preventive health centers in the city’s 24 districts to take preventive measures against the fatal Ebola virus disease (EVD), a viral hemorrhagic fever which has claimed over 900 lives in West Africa so far this year.

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health has called on all the preventive health centers in the city’s 24 districts to take preventive measures against the fatal Ebola virus disease (EVD), a viral hemorrhagic fever which has claimed over 900 lives in West Africa so far this year.
The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health has called on all the preventive health centers in the city’s 24 districts to take preventive measures against the fatal Ebola virus disease (EVD), a viral hemorrhagic fever which has claimed over 900 lives in West Africa so far this year.

The department issued the call at a regular conference it held on Wednesday to review performance in epidemic prevention and control and discuss new tasks for the coming time.

At the meeting, the department’s division of medical affairs informed the participants of the deadly Ebola epidemic that is raging in many African countries.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 932 deaths had been reported or confirmed as a result of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever by Wednesday.

Nearly all of the dead came from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, where over 1,700 infection cases have been reported, the WHO said.

The WHO said 108 new cases were reported in those countries and Nigeria from Saturday to Monday.

The EVD has yet to spread to Vietnam in general and Ho Chi Minh City in particular, but precautionary measures should be taken as the southern city is a popular destination for a large number of international tourists, including those from African countries, the health department said.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Health has warned that Ebola is a highly fatal virus that can kill 90 percent of the infected people.

According to the WHO, the EVD is one of the most virulent viral diseases known to the humankind.

The Ebola infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people.

‘Backpacker’ area under scanner

The HCMC International Health Quarantine Center has released a report on measures to actively cope with Ebola.

The report said that there is no direct flight to Vietnam from Ebola-stricken areas in Africa.

Most African travelers come to Vietnam by sea with the travel time of about 15 days, long enough for anyone with the Ebola virus to develop specific symptoms and thus to be detected and isolated before they arrive in the country, the report added.

However, the city health department requested that the District 1 Preventive Health Center keep a close watch on the ‘backpacker’ area on Pham Ngu Lao Street to find out any signs of Ebola infections, as this area is a popular home to many foreigners, including those from Africa.

The EVD is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, according to the WHO.

This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.

The incubation period, which is the time interval from infection with the virus to the onset of symptoms, is two to 21 days, the WHO said.