Ebola isolation facilities in Mumbai aren't foolproof: Why it makes the city vulnerable

Even as countries across the world are taking precautions against the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, that has the potential to cause havoc if not contained with proper measures, a two-member team from the Centre's health department has found that the isolation facilities for those affected by the virus are not foolproof.

DNA reported that the team had a checklist while reviewing the facilities and found that both Kasturba and Jogeshwari hospitals were not up to the mark with respect to WHO guidelines.

 Ebola isolation facilities in Mumbai arent foolproof: Why it makes the city vulnerable

Representational image. AFP

Proper measures need to be in place especially in a city like Mumbai since a) it has thousands of passengers flying in from different countries every day and b) it is one of the most populous and congested cities in the country.

The DNA report quoted sources as saying, "One of the points underlined by the team was absence of negative pressure that plays a key role in infection control in an isolation centre."

The team of officials also found several other flaws in the facility. They said that the isolation area should have separate entrance and exits and better hand washing facilities.

According to the WHO,  Ebola spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids.

That makes Mumbai, that houses the largest slums areas in the country, extremely vulnerable because of the poor levels of hygiene. Sanitation facilities in the many chawls and slum areas of the city are deplorable to say the least. Hence it would be a key for health officials in the city to identify if a person has the virus and isolate them.

The Ebola virus disease that originated in West Africa has killed nearly half of the more than 10,000 people it has infected. And it is still spreading.

Even the Bombay High Court had expressed concerns and had asked the Centre and Maharashtra government to file a reply stating what steps had been taken by them to prevent the spread of this deadly virus.

The Union government had informed the HC that all international airports in the country had been provided with thermal image scanners to detect the presence of 'Ebola' virus among passengers coming from African countries.

Meanwhile, a Times of India report said ,"The BMC has put forth a proposal to the Centre for setting up a model isolation centre at Kasturba hospital. The BMC wants the Centre to finance the upgrade plan, but there has been no word from Delhi yet."

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Updated Date: Oct 29, 2014 17:22:10 IST