Two Nigerians on a Qatar Airways flight to Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport Tuesday evening have been taken to a city hospital after being found to have flu-like symptoms that could be tied to the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Tran Dac Phu, chief of the Heath Ministry’s Preventive Medicine Department, said the two passengers departed August 18 from Nigeria, one of the four African countries that have been suffering from an Ebola outbreak, on the QR964 flight. They took the seats 25B and 26D.
The two Nigerians were then transported to the quarantined zone of the Ho Chi Minh City Tropical Diseases Hospital.
The Preventive Health Department, the city’s Pasteur Institute have cooperated with the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Office and the US Diseases Control Center in Vietnam to send blood samples taken from the two Nigerians for further testing.
The Health Ministry also asked the passengers sitting near the two Nigerians on that flight to go to the nearest hospitals or call the number 0989 671 115 to get guidance on preventive measures.
No Ebola-infected case has been detected in Vietnam so far.
In related news, Hanoi health authorities are watching three students from Nigeria for flu-like symptoms after they arrived in Vietnam between July 31 and August 8 to attend a college in the Vietnamese capital.
Health authorities said the students, who are asked to stay indoor under a 21-day fever watch, remained healthy, and underwent medical checkups everyday. They were asked to inform health officers as soon as they have symptoms of fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea and hemorrhage.
The Vietnam’s Ministry of Health is planning to buy 10,000 protective outfits for health officers facing high risks of Ebola-virus infection while on duty, said the chief of the Preventive Medicine Department at a conference last Thursday.
The Ebola virus causes a hemorrhagic fever, which can kill up to 90 percent of those it infects, has killed nearly 1,230 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since the outbreak began in March, according to the WHO.
Nigeria said on Monday its number of confirmed Ebola cases had reached 12, up from 10 last week, but five of these had almost fully recovered. Four people have died from the virus in Nigeria, where it was transferred by a U.S. citizen who arrived by plane from Liberia, Reuters reported Tuesday.
The virus is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, such as blood or urine, unlike an airborne virus like influenza or the common cold. A person exposed to the virus can take up to 21 days to exhibit any symptoms.