India need not be too concerned about the current Ebola outbreak but the country must be prepared to deal with any contingency in the event of an unexpected outbreak of such diseases, suggests an expert.
Delivering a lecture at a conference organized by the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), Thomas Hoenen, a virology expert of the US-based National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said, none can predict which is the next big epidemic that is going to hit us. "Though we have succeeded in containing Ebola outbreak, we cannot simply sit and watch as the presence of disease causing microbes can be seen anywhere in the world," Hoenen, who was a part of the medical team that worked in the Ebola-hit parts of Africa, said.
"Experts have instructed those in the Ebola-affected regions to follow safer sex practices in order to curb disease transmission," he said. "Researchers have now developed new medical procedures to diagnose the disease and have come up with treatments to curb its transmission. Poor health-care facilities and delay in detecting the disease were main reasons behind the high number of fatalities in the West African countries including Liberia. However, the governments there have now initiated public awareness campaigns and health education programs on a massive scale."
Liberia, one of the worst Ebola-hit regions in West Africa, has now installed facilities for detecting body temperature in public places. As a part of the preventive measures, hand washing has been made a compulsory habit among the people.
Since Ebola was first detected in August 2014, the authorities there had to wait until December 15 for a day with no single Ebola case in the entire region, said the virologist.
"Studies have shown that Ebola virus has not mutated, therefore, fears that the disease will come back have no grounds," he said.