Vietnam tightens border gate controls to preempt Ebola outbreak

By Phuong Trang   June 1, 2018 | 04:13 pm PT
Vietnam tightens border gate controls to preempt Ebola outbreak
The Ebola epidemic hits the Democratic Republic of Congo in South Africa, killing 27 people as of May 31. Photo by Reuters
Low risk of virus spreading from southern Africa, but preventive action needed, Health Ministry says.

The Vietnamese health sector has been put on high alert following reports of an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo in southern Africa that had killed 27 people as of May 31.

The Public Health Emergency Operations Center on Thursday convened a meeting with the Ministry of Heath to discuss ways to prevent the disease from breaking out in Vietnam.

Health officials urged authorities to step up control at border gates so that any infection could be detected early by screening people coming Ebola-affected areas.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ebola outbreak in Congo has reached an alarming level, considerably increasing the risk of the virus spreading to neighboring countries.

While Vietnam faces “very low” risk of the Ebola virus spreading in the country, there is a possibility that it could enter through busy trading and smuggling activities in border areas, the health ministry cautioned.

By the end of 2015, more than 28,000 Ebola-infected cases have been detected worldwide and some 11,000 people killed in four West African countries – Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Ebola is a dangerous A-type infectious disease with a mortality rate of up to 90 percent. Its average incubation period is from two to 21 days with common symptoms like fever, headache, muscle exhaustion, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, conjunctivitis and rash, alongside other bleeding symptoms.

Early in 2016, the WHO announced the Ebola epidemic has petered out, but several outbreaks have been reported in West African countries since.

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