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Vietnam, Myanmar test patients for Ebola

Published on Aug 20, 2014 1:03 PM
A girl suspected of being infected with Ebola has her temperature checked at a hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, on August 16, 2014. Vietnam is testing two Nigerians for the deadly virus after they arrived on a flight to Ho Chi Minh City showing symptoms of fever. -- PHOTO: AFP

HANOI (AFP) - Vietnam and Myanmar are testing three patients for the deadly Ebola virus after they arrived in the South-east Asian nations from Africa suffering fever, health officials said.

Two Nigerians were sent to Ho Chi Minh City’s Tropical Diseases Hospital for isolation after they arrived in the city by plane, Vietnam’s health ministry said, adding that they did not have symptoms other than fever.

Airline passengers sitting next to the pair – who travelled to Vietnam on Monday from Nigeria via Qatar – have been advised to monitor their health.

In Myanmar, a 22-year-old local man was taken to hospital in Yangon after arriving at the city’s main airport on Tuesday, the Myanmar Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention said in a statement on its official Facebook page.

It said he is believed to have returned from Guinea, having also travelled to Liberia, two of the countries worst hit by the Ebola outbreak.

“Samples were sent to a WHO (World Health Organisation) recognised laboratory to check whether or not Ebola was present,” the statement said.

It added that four people who accompanied the man to hospital were also being kept under observation.

The global death toll from Ebola stands at 1,229, with the bulk of cases in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

The medical charity MSF has said the outbreak is moving faster than aid organisations can handle, while the World Health Organisation said the scale of the epidemic had been vastly underestimated.

Myanmar, which began emerging from harsh junta rule in 2011, has one of the world’s worst funded and poorly equipped healthcare systems, with many people cut off from even basic medical help. The country’s health ministry confirmed the CDC statement, released late Tuesday, but gave no further update.

Vietnam has introduced mandatory temperature checks at its two major international airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to try to prevent passengers bringing the deadly virus into the country.