Vietnam tightens up Ebola controls after int’l meeting

By Lien Chau, Thanh Nien News

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A border gate official in Tay Ninh Province scans arrivals' temperatures. Photo: Pham Thanh Tan/Vietnam News Agency A border gate official in Tay Ninh Province scans arrivals' temperatures. Photo: Pham Thanh Tan/Vietnam News Agency

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Vietnam will maintain tight border surveillance as the Ebola virus continues to spread, an official said Tuesday following an international meeting.
Tran Dac Phu, head of the Ministry of Health's Preventive Health Department said their Emergency Operation Center called an urgent meeting with officials from the WHO, FAO and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on Monday, following a series of complicated developments in the past three weeks.
Officials said the disease -- which has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent -- has continued to rage in New Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing at least 4,024 of the 8,376 infected cases.
The virus is transmitted through direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people.
The WHO and CDC have yet to produce evidence to confirm suspicions that the disease is becoming airborne.
But the outbreak remains a big challenge and will take six to nine more months to contain, Phu cited the WHO members as saying.
They said Ebola could easily enter Vietnam through tourists or workers returning from West Africa.
Vietnam has been monitoring arrivals from six countries including the above-mentioned hot zones as well as Congo, Nigeria and Senegal.
Officials in Vietnam have decided against demanding certificates of health from travelers disembarking from the US and Spain, where two health workers were struck by the virus after caring for Ebola patients.
The US patient was described as Vietnamese-American Nina Pham, who was admitted October 12 and is “doing well” according to the latest reports on her condition.
Their infections were the first recorded outside Africa and have raised questions about whether there was a lapse in disease control protocols.
Vietnamese officials agreed, during the Monday meeting, to enhance training and protection for health workers.
They pledged to keep the public well-informed, while avoiding the creation of any panic.
Members from the WHO said Vietnam can set up Ebola testing at home with assistance from the organization and Japanese medical experts.

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