DHAKA: As per media reports, Haj pilgrims arriving at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) are being screened, tested and given preventive medication against the Ebola virus.
Fahd Al-Ghazwi, supervisor of the preventive centre at the airport said in an interview to the Arab News that a medical team wearing protective clothing is examining the pilgrims who have flown in for Haj, especially those coming from West Africa’, the worst Ebola-hit area.
Passengers are required to fill out medical forms and are administered medication as soon as they disembark from their flights.
Abdul Ghani Al-Malki, KAIA’s health control centre director, emphasised the need to examine each and every pilgrim entering the Kingdom. ’We are in the process of implementing a drill on how to handle a suspected case of illness or Ebola to ensure that teams are ready to act,’ Al-Malki said.
Fuad Sindi, medical director of the airport’s health control centre, said the medical teams will use thermal cameras and visual observation to detect signs of Ebola.
‘A rapid intervention team will be on standby to take any diagnosed case of Ebola directly to the hospital,’ Al-Malki said. A traveller who had been suspected of having the Ebola virus was recently transferred to hospital in an ambulance, but tested negative from the disease.
Ahmad Al-Issa, medical services supervisor at the interior ministry, recently inspected health facilities in Makkah, Jeddah and Madina to ensure readiness ahead of the busy season.
What is Ebola virus?
The Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a severe condition caused by a virus from the Filoviridae family. Known to be a condition that is transmitted from animals to humans, this virus spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or animal. Also read: Ebola virus — causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and prevention
Early symptoms of Ebola
Fever: Increase in body temperature is the first defence mechanism that the body uses to kill any foreign particle invading the body. When Ebola infects the body, it causes a release of various compounds like cytokines and histamines that pass on the signals of increasing body temperature. In fact, Ebola virus disease is also called the Ebola haemorrhagic fever, where the temperature can go above 38.6°C or 101.5°F.
Headache: It is the most common symptom of Ebola infection after fever, present in almost 96 percent of the cases. Nausea and headache along with fever present a typical case of common cold and flu. At this stage, the symptoms can be confused with other common infections.
Stomach pain: A few viral particles invade the liver and start destroying the hepatocytes. New virions start damaging the intestinal cells causing abdominal pain.
Drop in blood pressure: The cytokines and histamines released by the immune cells, soon after the entry of the virus in the body, increases the permeability of the cells lining the blood vessels. This causes leakage of water from the blood into the surrounding tissues and a sudden drop in blood pressure.
BDST: 2120 HRS, SEP 22, 2014