Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long on August 11 inspected the health quarantine work at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport, a major gateway of northern Vietnam to the world, as the Ebola virus disease is raging through West Africa.

Long said the disease situation is getting complicated with growing numbers of the infected and dead and likely to enter Vietnam.

The Ministry of Health has ordered the application of medical declarations at all international border gates, he said, adding those who have to fill the documents are passengers boarding flights from affected areas in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, among others.

A representative from the Centre for International Health Quarantine of Hanoi said special teams were set up to supervise all international flights to the place, adding that they have devised measures in case there are suspect cases of the disease.

Also on August 11, the health ministry issued a decision on activating an emergency operations centre (EOC), which is assigned to gather, analyse and share information on the situation of emergency diseases with central and local agencies as well as domestic and international organisations and individuals.

It is also in charge of outlining plans and coordinating the operation of sub-committees under the ministry’s Steering Committee for Prevention and Control of Dangerous and Emerging Diseases.

At a meeting in Hanoi the same day, Tran Dac Phu, head of the ministry’s Department of Preventive Medicine, said Vietnam has not recorded any Ebola-infected cases so far, and warned of observable risks of the disease in the country through arrivals from Africa.

The ministry has requested all relevant agencies and provincial People’s Committees to strengthen supervision, especially at border gates, and ready equipment, he added.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals.

It then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.

The disease is a severe acute viral illness often characterised by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

On August 8, the WHO declared a state of international emergency over the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and reported 961 deaths of the disease.-VNA