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Cambodia gears up for Ebola prevention

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
Health Minister Mam Bun Heng. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Health Ministry has issued advice to be careful about the Ebola virus disease after the World Health Organisation announced a renewed outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo last week.

The ministry’s communicable disease control department released three pages of advice to Cambodians, especially for passengers who often travel to and from countries affected by Ebola.

“If you have a high temperature and symptoms of the Ebola virus, you have to immediately report to air officials,” it said.

It added that the symptoms were fever, exhaustion, muscle aches, headaches and sore throats. After these, came vomiting, diahorrhea and bleeding.

The instructions added that at airports, everyone must avoid touching anyone with symptoms of Ebola while adding that no one should touch the body of anyone who had died of Ebola.

“Use alcohol to clean your hands all day and if your hands are really dirty, you must clean them with shampoo and water,” it said. “Find treatment immediately when you have Ebola symptoms.”

It said patients must go to hospitals or health centres nearby as quickly as possible if they have symptoms leading them to suspect they have the disease to get treatment on time.

“After receiving a report from the World Health Organisation on the outbreaks of Ebola, the Communicable Disease Control Department has taken action to strengthen prevention and preparedness for the Ebola disease,” Ly Sovann, a spokesman for Health Ministry and director of DCD, posted on Friday.

He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

He posted that the department was providing information on the disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo so that Cambodia could respond and take action on time.

Advice had gone to officers working along the land and sea borders and the airports about the health of passengers, especially travelers from Africa.

The advice included implementation of measures to prevent cases and about responding on time.

The message on how to prevent infection from Ebola was to be disseminated across the country.

He urged anyone traveling from Africa and who had symptoms such as fever over 38.5 degrees celsius, muscle pains, tiredness, vomiting, redness or bleeding to go to the nearest hospital or contact the hotline number 115 to get emergency treatment to avoid of spreading the disease to family members and others.

The virus spreads among humans by direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids, through coughing, sneezing or contact with contaminated clothing or bedding.

In September, 2015, Cambodia’s Council of Ministers passed a sub-decree on health measures to prevent global epidemic diseases from spreading to Cambodia.

“It aims to strengthen the mechanism of law implementation and to ensure the effectiveness of preventing global epidemic diseases from spreading to Cambodia through international airports, border checkpoints or ports,” Xinhua reported.

The sub-decree was made in response to the international outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, H5N1 in 2005, AH1N1 in 2009, and Ebola in 2014, as well as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2015.

Under the sub-decree, health officials are authorised to check at ports of entry the health of any passenger suspected of contacting an epidemic disease overseas.

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