Astana ready to fight serious infectious outbreaks, including Ebola20 august 2014, 21:47
With Ebola marching across East Africa and being the deadliest outbreak on record, doctors and scientists all over the world are working hard to counter it, since globalization makes spread of the virus to geographically distant areas as likely as contamination of the neighbouring ones.
The latest UN data suggests that more than 1,200 people have died from the disease since the virus was detected in March this year. There is no specific treatment for the virus but several manufacturers in the United States and Canada declared that they had made some progress in development of drugs against the virus. The World Health Organization said it was ethical to use experimental drugs to treat the disease.
In the meanwhile Kazakhstani authorities are working towards raise awareness among the population. According to the head of epidemiological surveillance of quarantinable and especially dangerous infectious diseases of the Department of Consumer Protection of Astana Julia Mayer, the world is in a precarious epidemiological situation with respect to infectious diseases, including plague, cholera and yellow fever.
“In connection with the unfavorable situation in West Africa, the WHO advises cancelling unnecessary trips to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, as well as their neighbouring countries, because of the risk to contract the disease,” Mayer said.
She stressed that increasing migration and summer vacation trips escalate the risks of contamination, making it necessary to inform the tourists about the symptoms of the disease and ways of transmission of the virus.
"The Ebola virus is transmitted through contact with bats, gorillas, chimpanzees, as well as antelopes and porcupines. Next, the virus spreads in communities as it can be transmitted from person to person through close contact, through fluids - blood, various bodily fluids, as well as through contact with the surfaces contaminated with these fluids," Mayer said.
Mayer also gave the main symptoms of Ebola: "The disease begins acutely with fever, severe ache in the back of the head and forehead, muscle pain in the neck and lower back. On the second or third day, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting begin. By the fifth or sixth day, a rash appears on the diseased person's chest and then disappears in a couple of days. Bleeding starts on the fourth to seventh day: bloody diarrhea, blood coming from the nose, mouth and eyes."
Having this in mind, deputy head of Astana Department of Consumer Protection Myra Zhusupova said: "A question which naturally arises is whether our hospitals are ready? We have already dealt with adventitious cases of cholera 5-6 years ago and with malaria 2 years ago. And of course, we, Astana, have a reserve of drugs, both specific and broad-spectrum drugs for treatment of particularly dangerous and quarantinable infections."
The Sanitary Epidemiological Service of Kazakhstan recommended to avoid contacts with animals during traveling, drink only bottled or boiled water, use individual dinnerware during meals, swim only in designated places, use mosquito nets and repellents, and wear clothes that cover the whole body during evening or night walks.
Reporting by Altynai Zhumzhumina, writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina