Bahrain steps up Ebola screening
Manama, August 11, 2014
Dozens of at-risk Bahrain residents have been screened for Ebola as part of the Health Ministry’s efforts to stop the deadly virus from entering the country.
Authorities identified 42 African expatriates who had travelled to the Ebola-hit nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria within the past month and tested them for traces of the virus, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The move followed a health scare in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, when a 40-year-old Saudi man with Ebola-like symptoms died in a specialised hospital in Jeddah.
He had recently returned from “one of the countries that has been hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak”, the Saudi Health Ministry said in a statement. However, laboratory tests conducted at the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention later showed that he was not infected with the virus.
All the at-risk African expatriates in Bahrain screened for Ebola similarly tested negative, Health Ministry public health and primary healthcare assistant under-secretary Dr Maryam Al Jalahma told the GDN.
“In liaison with the Nationality, Passports and Residence Authority, the ministry identified 42 Africans who are resident in Bahrain and had travelled to their home countries during the past month,” she said.
They were called to a separate wing at the ministry’s public health directorate in Manama, which has been set aside for the diagnosis and detection of such viruses.
“These people had travelled to various African countries, but none of them tested positive for Ebola virus.
“They were educated about the virus and told about the precautions they need to take to avoid it.
“This process is ongoing and the authorities are still checking for more people, if any.”
Dr Al Jalahma added that all measures were being taken to stop Ebola from entering the country.
“At the ports, authorities have been advised to check anybody with even a fever and they will not be allowed to enter Bahrain,” she said.
Ebola virus disease is a severe, often fatal, illness that carries a fatality rate of up to 90 per cent.
With around 1,700 suspected cases and more than 900 deaths, the current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is the biggest ever recorded, which the World Health Organisation declared an “international emergency” on Saturday. - TradeArabia News Service