Author Topic: Ebola Outbreak in Thailand 'Very Unlikely' ♦ 21 tourists monitored  (Read 826 times)

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Offline thaiga

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BANGKOK - A public health official has assured the Thai public that an outbreak of Ebola virus in Thailand is extremely unlikely.

"We have estimated that the risk of an outbreak in Thailand is very minimal," said Sophon Mekthon, director of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), "However, we are not letting our guard down. We have implimented many measures to control and prevent the disease."

More than 800 people have been killed in the latest Ebola epidemic in four African nations, while 1,600 more are reportedly infected.

The outbreak led to concerns that Ebola-inflicted individuals may arrive in Thailand and spread the disease beyond the African continent, but Mr. Sophon said today that the authorities are closely monitoring all arrivals from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria at all major airports in Thailand to look for any potential patient.

"We check their body temperatures, and when they leave the affected areas. If they left more than 21 days ago, they are considered safe," Mr. Sophon said. Those who left the area less than 21 days before they arrived in Thailand would undergo elaborate medical checkup, he said.

According to Mr. Sophon, 341 people have arrived in Thailand since the observation was put in place on 8 June, and not a single potential Ebola carrier has been found. He also insisted that the Thai public health officials have equipment and technology that are up to international standard to detect and quarantine any Ebola cases.

Although the ongoing Ebola outbreak has been confined to the four African nations, some Thais have already started profiting from the Ebola scare in the Kingdom. A number of online shops are selling aloe medicine that is claimed to make human bodies immune to Ebola.

21 tourists monitored for Ebola

Health officials are monitoring 21 tourists in Thailand to determine if they are infected with the deadly Ebola virus.

Dr Sophon Mekthon, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said Wednesday that since June 8, Thai health authorities have monitored more than 300 tourists who arrived from countries affected by Ebola, which has an incubation period of up to 21 days.

Twenty-one of those tourists remained within the incubation period, he said.

Although Ebola poses only a small risk to Thailand, authorities are taking serious precautions to screen travellers for it, Dr Sophon said.

Health authorities are watching out for airline passengers with suspicious symptoms at five international airports: Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hat Yai. Employees at Thai hospitals also have been ordered to stay alert for people with suspicious symptoms.

The Bureau of Epidemiology is closely monitoring the Ebola situation overseas and the Department of Medical Sciences is ready for laboratory tests for the disease.

Ebola has a mortality rate of more than 90%, but is spread only through contact with blood and bodily fluids. Incubation periods range from two to 21 days. Patients develop high temperatures quickly, feel exhausted, have muscle pain, severe headaches and sore throats, vomiting and red swollen skin rashes.

Ebola is spreading in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. By Aug 4 there had been 1,603 Ebola patients of whom 887 died. There is no vaccine or specific medication for the disease.

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