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Risk of Ebola infection raises worry

The Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi

Medical experts are divided over the possibility of the Ebola virus entering the state.

A recent suspected case of Ebola virus found in Delhi is being treated at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, confirmed an official of World Health Organisation, Patna, to this correspondent on Sunday.

The suspected case of the Ebola virus has triggered an argument among health experts. While some said the Ebola virus could enter the state capital through Delhi, others felt it was too early to say that the deadly virus could do so. None of the government hospitals in the state capital have set up isolated wards to deal with cases of the disease though most of the health experts said there was a need to initiate preventive steps.

The deadly virus has spread in west African countries, including Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria among others, where it has claimed many lives. The Telegraph, in its report “International airport not Ebola ready” published on August 8, had highlighted that Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport was yet to set up a screening chamber for Ebola virus as per the recommendation of Airport Authority of India.

Sources said though Patna airport is an international airport but no international flight operates from here. But passengers of foreign origin do come to Patna through connecting flights from other bigger airports in the country.

Dr Ghanshyam Shetty, health specialist, Unicef, said: “You never know. It’s a viral diseases and it might occur in this state if people come in contact with the blood and sweat of an infected person. The possibility of Ebola cases reaching the state has risen after a suspected case has been found in Delhi,” said Shetty. He added that medical practitioners were at the highest risk of contracting the disease.

Dr Ajay Kumar, general secretary, Bihar Health services Association, and Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, former president of the state chapter of Indian Medical Association spoke about the risk of the Ebola virus reaching the state and the need of government hospitals to form isolated wards as a preventive measure.

The Telegraph found most of the hospitals unequipped to tackle the virus. PMCH superintendent Dr Lakhendra Prasad admitted that the hospital had not created any separate ward for Ebola patients yet. “We do have an infectious ward where we keep patients of other viral diseases. If we find any case of Ebola, we would keep the patient there,” said Prasad.

NMCH superintendent Dr Santosh Kumar said NMCH had isolated wards but dengue patients were also admitted there. Ironically, Patna civil surgeon Dr K.K. Mishra did not have any idea about the Ebola virus.


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