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HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

Delhi Airport’s quarantine facility now functional for suspected Ebola cases

Rhythma Kaul , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 18, 2014
First Published: 00:20 IST(18/8/2014) | Last Updated: 00:23 IST(18/8/2014)

The quarantine-cum-isolation health facility at Delhi Airport has been made functional and all suspect cases of the Ebola Virus Disease detected at Delhi Airport would be admitted here from now on.

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The move came after doctors at New Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital found that most cases, while screening passengers flying from West Africa for the deadly EVD, are found to be of Malaria, typhoid and a other diseases that cause high fever.

Union health ministry on August 9 had designated RML Hospital as the nodal hospital for management of cases of the Ebola Virus Disease in Delhi, following which suspected cases are being rushed there from the airport for mandatory screening.

However, a major chunk of the patients coming to Delhi for treatment from outside India. According to the hospital sources these are people who come to India for treatment and fever is a common symptom in most illnesses.

“These people are here for elective surgeries and form a substantial part of medical tourism in the country. Just on August 15, the passenger who was brought to us with high fever eventually tested positive for malaria,” said the hospital source.

“When airport authorities find them running high fever they rush them to us straight for Ebola screening. You have to test them and they are bound to turn negative cases,” said the source.

The hospital medical superintendent Dr HK Kar confirmed that many of those tested had come for treatment to India. “Delhi experiences maximum medical tourism rush in the country. Since screening is mandatory we can’t afford to not test them as a precautionary measure,” he said.

On an average, the hospital has been getting two to three suspected cases of Ebola daily.

“It will help to tackle suspected cases at the airport hospital,” said Kar.

Meanwhile, the blood sample of a 79-year-old man from Nigeria was sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, as his ELISA blood test for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) was ‘inconclusive’.

“National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has sent his blood sample to NIV, Pune for RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) test as the ELISA test was bit doubtful. He was sent to RML from the airport on Saturday along with two other Nigerians, who were discharged on Sunday after they tested negative,” said Dr HK Kar.


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