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Indian Airports Will Have Thermal Scanners In Ebola Watch

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India has stepped up its efforts to prevent an outbreak of Ebola, conducting mock drills at its airports and installing surveillance systems amid a global health scare about the deadly virus.
 
The Health Ministry said all international airports and sea ports in India will soon be equipped with thermal scanners.
 
Officials from several ministries besides those from defence forces and National Disaster Management Authority discussed a number of surveillance measures.
 
"We have removed all stops to constantly upgrade equipment and retrain staff," Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said.
 
"There is need for constant maintenance, frequent calibration."
 
Health authorities worldwide are struggling to contain the world's worst Ebola epidemic since the disease was identified in 1976.
 
The virus has killed more than 4,500 people across the three most-affected countries, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
 
While more than 22,000 passengers have been screened, India has so far not reported any cases of Ebola. 
 
There are nearly 45,000 Indian nationals living in west Africa, but India has not reported any case of Ebola.
 
The WHO, that has warned of 5,000-10,000 new cases globally every week by December, is supporting India's preparations.
 
Peter Piot, a former WHO official who co-discovered the virus, has expressed concerns about the disease spreading to India.
 
Like the west African countries hit, many experts say India is not adequately prepared to handle any spread of the highly infectious haemorrhagic fever because of poor health infrastructure.
 
Defecating and urinating in the open is common, while hygiene standards remain low, especially in smaller towns and villages.
 
The Indian government has launched a 24-hour helpline to offer assistance on Ebola and has selected about 10 laboratories that will handle testing if a case is reported.
 
Health authorities at Indira Gandhi International Airport conducted a mock drill to test the alertness of the Ebola detection centre.
 
Similar tests will be carried out at all airports in the country within a few days and at regular intervals.
 
(Agencies)