KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — Malaysian health authorities will increase screening of visitors from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak there an international emergency.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said Health Ministry officials stationed at international entry points will be informed about the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak and prevention and infection control measures.
“The Democratic Republic of Congo is among the listed countries with a risk for transmission of yellow fever.
“Health screenings for visitors from that country are already being conducted at international entry gates. Therefore, these health screening activities will be further strengthened to detect EVD infection symptoms,” Dr Noor Hisham said in a statement.
Flight passengers or crew suspected of having EVD symptoms will be referred to identified hospitals for further examination and treatment.
“EVD ‘Person Under Investigation’ (PUI) cases will be reported to the national crisis preparedness response centre (CPRC) through the Entry Point Health Office, State Health Department, and District Health Office nearby for further examination and treatment.”
WHO’s global emergency declaration about EVD on July 17 came after reports of the first confirmed case in Goma, a city of almost two million people on the border with Rwanda, and the gateway to the rest of DRC and the world. Infection there could lead to risk of it spreading even wider across the region.
According to WHO, EVD is a rare but severe illness with a death rate of up to 90 per cent in humans. The 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa killed over 11,000 people out of more than 28,600 cases.
Symptoms of EVD include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, and unexplained bleeding or bruising, among others. The virus is transmitted through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of someone with EVD, objects like needles and syringes contaminated with bodily fluids of a person with EVD, infected fruit bats or primates like apes or monkeys, and semen through sex with a man who recovered from EVD.