Islamabad - Ebola screening desks have been established at major airports and health staff at points of entries (POEs) has been advised to coordinate with provincial health departments for emergency management if any case of Ebola virus is detected at POEs.

According to Ministry of national health services, regulation and coordination, guidelines/SOPs provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been distributed to all health officials at POEs. Health staff is available round the clock at POEs to manage any public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) including EVD. The arrangements are being made for sharing information regarding any passenger arriving from EVD-affected country through the immigration staff to health officials at POEs.

The health officials will take detailed history of such passengers and if necessary will keep them under observation/quarantine for 21 days.

The current Ebola epidemic, which started earlier this year, is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. Each day hundreds of Ebola cases are reported primarily from the three countries namely Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. According to the WHO global alert and response situation report 8997, cases with 4493 deaths have been reported due to Ebola virus disease (EVD) as of 17th October 2014. Though the EVD is still concentrated in the abovementioned countries, a few cases have been confirmed from other countries with Ebola who had travel history to the affected countries.

As EVD has been declared as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) by the WHO in August 2014, the details about EVD are being included in the forthcoming issue of the Seasonal Awareness and Alert Letter (SAAL) issued by the NIH and will be distributed to all the relevant stake holders.

Training activities have been planned in collaboration with WHO and FELTP with special focus on prevention and hospital infection control measures to contain the Ebola virus cases to avoid outbreaks in healthcare settings or in the community for medical staff of PIMS, Pakistan Army and Civil Aviation Authority.