Pakistan President orders steps against Ebola

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Islamabad, Oct 21: Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain has issued instructions to the authorities to take precautionary measures against the Ebola virus disease, officials said on Tuesday.

The country's National Health Services had earlier warned that the Ebola virus might come to Pakistan due to the frequent movement of people to African countries in connection with trade and transit.

International health officials have also shown similar concerns and called for measures to stop the arrival of Ebola virus in Pakistan.

The Pakistani president has written to provincial governments against the spread of Ebola disease, the National Assembly was informed on Tuesday, Xinhua reported.

Screening counters have been established at international airports to check passengers, Parliamentary Secretary Raja Javed Ekhlas said.

"The President has written letters to provincial governments... and northern areas of Gilgit Baltistan urging them to take preventive measures against spread of Ebola disease," he said.

Some MPs had raised the issue to inquire about the measures the government has taken to deal with the deadly disease.

The National Assembly was told that screening counters have been established at international airports to check passengers especially those from Ebola affected states.

The parliamentary secretary said an awareness and training programme is also being drawn up. "The government, in collaboration with the provincial departments concerned, USAID and Unicef, is taking steps to meet the challenge," he added.

In an earlier advisory, the Pakistani health officials said that in the recent past, West Africa (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) had experienced the outbreak of the disease, killing hundreds of people.

Ebola is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.

This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rashes and impaired kidney and liver functioning. In some cases, both internal and external bleeding also starts.

Vice Chancellor of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad, Javed Akram, said the virus is not endemic in Pakistan so people coming from West Africa should be screened at airports.

He said Ebola was a viral disease and the virus spreads through close contact, sexual transmission, through saliva and blood transfusion.

"Ebola and HIV have lots of similarities but the former is more dangerous. The incubation period of HIV is almost 10 years whereas Ebola develops into a full blown disease in just a week and attacks the nervous system. The disease is endemic in West Africa," he told media earlier.

IANS

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