Vietnam hospitals, institutes up for Ebola tests: official

Thanh Nien News

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Noi Bai airport officials scan arrivals' temperature at a distance to check possible Ebola signs. Photo credit: Vietnam News Agency Noi Bai airport officials scan arrivals' temperature at a distance to check possible Ebola signs. Photo credit: Vietnam News Agency

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Several medical institutions in Vietnam are now able to test for Ebola virus as the country is preparing health workers nationwide to fight the deadly hemorrhagic fever.
Tran Dac Phu, head of the Preventive Health Department at the Health Ministry, told a meeting Monday that the ministry has set up examination protocols for Ebola under instructions of the World Health Organization and the US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Vietnam News Agency reported.
Tests for the virus can now be conducted at laboratories of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and the Central Tropical Diseases Hospital in Hanoi, as well as the Ho Chi Minh City Tropical Diseases Hospital and the Pasteur Institute in the city, Phu said in the report.
The two institutes can send positive test samples to the WHO labs when necessary, he said.
Ebola, one of the world’s most virulent diseases, has killed more than 4,000 people or half of the infected cases in West Africa, mostly in New Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
WHO on Monday removed Nigeria from the list of infection countries after no new case was reported after 42 days, or two incubation periods.
Congo and Senegal are still in the list, and there have been at least four infections outside Africa, in Spain and the US, and several suspected cases around Europe.
The virus is transmitted through direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissue from infected animals and people.
World Health Organization members have kept dismissing concern about the virus going airborne due to a lack of evidence.
Vietnam has not reported any Ebola infection but has been required medical declarations from people coming through or from the infection countries in Africa.
Officials since August 11 have been keeping tabs on 277 arrivals, including 26 through Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport, 242 through Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat Airport and nine through Vung Tau border gate. Most of them were from Nigeria.
None of the objects have shown signs of Ebola symptoms, with 248 of them passing the incubation period of 21 days.
The Health Ministry is establishing four rapid response teams across the country and has ordered hospitals to prepare protection for their staffs, equipment, medicine and ambulance cars, as well as to keep themselves updated with WHO instructions.
No vaccine or specific medicine is available for Ebola. Treatment is provided as the symptoms appear, basically includes providing intravenous fluids and balancing body salts and maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure.
The hospital is going to hold Ebola treatment drills at the Central Tropical Diseases Hospital in Hanoi, the Hue Central Hospital and the Ho Chi Minh City Tropical Diseases Hospital this month.

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