Egypt hospitals on alert for Ebola
Health Minister Adel al-Adawy - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Egyptian hospitals are on alert for Ebola, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an international public health emergency, following a case reported in Saudi Arabia.

The Health Ministry has instructed all preventive and endemic affairs sector to step up preventive measures against the highly fatal Ebola virus which has killed many in West Africa so far this year, Amr Kandil, Assistant Minister of Health and Chief of Preventive Medicine at the Ministry of Health told The Cairo Post Saturday.

Kandil has confirmed that no Ebola cases have been reported in Egypt till now, adding that “Ebola has no proven cure and there is no vaccine to prevent infection.”

“In the case of a suspected infection, a patient would be transported to the Abasseya Fever hospital, which has been equipped with all equipment required to handle such cases,” added Kandil.

The sole case of Ebola in the Middle East was reported in Saudi Arabic, spokesperson for the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean Rana Sidani told The Cairo Post Saturday, adding that the Saudi Health Ministry submitted samples for official testing.

The suspected Ebola case died Aug. 6, the Saudi Health Ministry said, adding that he had been in critical condition since his admission into hospital, following his return from a business trip to Sierra Leone.

The WHO estimates 1,779 people have been infected, and 961 people have died in the most severe outbreak of the disease in the 40 years since it was first identified in humans.

Egypt’s Health Ministry has warned Egyptians from travelling to West Africa, especially Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Liberia where several cases of Ebola have been reported. Nigeria became the third African nation, after Sierra Leone and Liberia, to declare a national emergency on Thursday evening.

Egypt has formed a committee to assist in the control of the epidemic as well as to follow up on the screening measures especially for travelers arriving from West African nations, who must list their contact information as well as intended addresses in Egypt.

“Ebola takes between two days and 21 days for symptoms to show and once the disease symptoms appeared, people could be infected by touch,” Sidani told The Cairo Post Saturday.

Ebola virus which spreads in the human population through direct contact with blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people, takes its name from the Ebola River in Democratic Republic of Congo where the first case was reported in 1976. The death rate from Ebola is as high as 90 percent, according to WHO data.

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