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India on high alert for Ebola, Health minister denies Chennai case

New Delhi: The government on Sunday said India was on a high alert for the dreaded Ebola virus even as it denied reports that a Chennai resident had been afflicted with it. The health ministry in coordination with the home and civil aviation ministries is constantly tracking passengers arriving in India from west African countries affected by Ebola, an official statement said.

It said that though mandatory self-reporting is in place, health officers posted in identified international airports all over India are screening passengers getting off aircraft. "Till now, all those arriving have been found to be healthy," it added.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan denied reports of a "suspect" Ebola virus case in Chennai. "The government of Tamil Nadu has informed the central government that a person had indeed landed at Chennai airport from Guinea Aug 9. He was checked for symptoms and was found healthy," he said.

A health ministry official told IANS a total of 200 calls have so far been received on the helplines set up by the government. The control room with helpline numbers 23063205, 23061469 and 23061302 became operational from Saturday morning.

Indian government says so far there have been no case of Ebola virus in India. Reuters

Indian government says so far there have been no case of Ebola virus in India. Reuters

The Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in the national capital has been identified for treatment and management of any case of Ebola. India has nearly 45,000 nationals living in the four Ebola-affected west African nations.

At the onset of the dreaded disease, a patient experiences fatigue, fever, headache, sore throat and pain in the joints and muscles. The initial symptoms are so common that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US says cases are often misdiagnosed.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Friday declared the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in west Africa as an "international health emergency". "A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola," the WHO said in a statement issued after a two-day meeting of its emergency committee. It noted that the Ebola outbreak in west Africa constituted an "extraordinary event" and a public health risk to other countries.

IANS