Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ebola risk in Singapore is low says MOH as the deadliest Ebola virus outbreak goes out of control

The largest Ebola virus disease outbreak to date, the ongoing 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak, which is affecting Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia is out of control. Since March 2014, there have been 1,201 cases of Ebola and 672 died in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. This makes the current kill rate of Ebola 60% and Ebola virus can kill up to 90% of the people it effects.

More worrying aspect of the current Ebola outbreak is its reach. Previous outbreaks were confined to small villages and did not travel long distances. But last week,  a 40-year-old American man of Liberian descent who worked for the West African nation's Finance Ministry died in Nigeria after taking several flights on Asky Airlines.

The idea of the Ebola virus travelling in commercial airliners is a horror scenario. There are 35 countries, including USA, France and Germany which are only one flight away from the epicenter of the outbreak. Although the virus is hard to transmit and makes people to sick to travel around, the average time between contracting the infection and the onset of symptoms is 13 days. Which means a person carrying the virus will not have any sign and symptoms for 2 weeks andcan easily pass through customs without detected.

Ebola can be transmitted from humans to humans but it requires direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. It is not transmitted through air. Since it makes its victims very sick and kills most of them, a large scale global epidemic is highly unlikely. In fact, simple diseases like diarrhea kills more people in a day than Ebola did since 1976 but its high death rate makes it very scary.

Ebola cases have been suspected in Britain and Hong Kong, but patients have so far tested negative.

2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak is the deadliest since the first outbreak in 1976.
According to Ministry of Health (MOH), Ebola virus disease advised not to be alarmed by reports of Ebola cases overseas:

"The Ministry of Health's (MOH) current assessment is that Ebola poses a low public health risk to Singapore since person-to-person transmission results from direct contact with bodily fluids of those infected, and there is low travel connectivity to West Africa where the current outbreak remains limited to.

MOH is in close contact with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and our counterparts internationally, and will continue to monitor the situation. Our hospitals will be vigilant in testing for Ebola where clinically indicated, such as in patients with the symptoms and a compatible travel history.  All suspected and confirmed cases will be isolated. In addition, the Ministry will conduct contact tracing and all close contacts will be quarantined, if a case is detected."

No comments:

Post a Comment