India has surveillance-tracking system for checking Ebola
NEW DELHI: India has put in place a strong
surveillance-tracking system for checking the dreaded Ebola disease, Union Health
Minister Harsh Vardhan said here on Tuesday. The surveillance system is of the
level which was used in Nigeria which has been declared “Ebola-Free” by the
World Health Organisation.
Harsh Vardhan said that India already has a highly-rated
integrated disease surveillance network. “We have removed all stops to
constantly upgrade equipment and retrain staff and are in the process of
further strengthening them,” he said after a meeting of senior officials of
various departments here, according to an official release.
The minister said use of thermal scanners has made
Nigeria’s success possible. It is widely prevalent in most of the 15 major
airports, often two to each. He added a further lot of scanners will be
purchased and installed over the next few days.
He said, “These scanners, which resemble the radar
guns used by police officers to catch speeding motorists, can detect high body
temperature among people queued up before immigration counters. Fever is one of
the commonest symptoms of Ebola.”
Harsh Vardhan said that a guidance paper produced by
the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, has
outlined all the facets of operating this hardware. He added, “There is need
for constant maintenance, frequent calibration and training of people using
Meanwhile, health authorities at the capital’s Indira
Gandhi International Airport conducted a mock drill Tuesday to test the
alertness of the Ebola detection centre there. The minister has instructed similar
tests be carried out at all airports in the country within a few days and at
He said that greater clarity must be sought from
international airlines as to the steps that are taken when a passenger
manifests signs of Ebola when the plane is air-borne. He added that it is
essential to ensure that passengers are given self-declaration forms to fill
out before they deplane.