The Ministry has been conducting awareness sessions with various personnel at the Cheddi Jagan International airport (CJIA) including: port health workers, customs, and immigration and airline staff.
Guyana was alerted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the Ebola outbreak that commenced late last year, and which has hit West African countries such as: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud said that while there are no reported Ebola cases in South America and the Caribbean, any instance of this disease at this point in time would be as a result of travellers.
“We are looking at beefing up additional port health officers on duty so that all incoming flights would be monitored. We have already written through the airport authorities to all the airlines asking them to strengthen their sanitary controls of flights,” the CMO said.
This means that airlines have to prepare a general declaration for each arriving flight, a significant part of which, will relate to health. It will include the identification of any passengers on any flight who may be showing symptoms of Ebola.
Passengers who have passed through or are coming from West Africa (based on their passports and travel itineraries) will be properly screened.
Ebola is described as a very aggressive disease; whereby symptoms manifest in a matter of days. In the initial stage, these symptoms may include: high fever, excessive muscle aches, sweating, weakness, headaches, sore throat, and hoarseness. In the second phase, affected persons may experience tell tale signs such as: vomiting, diarrhoea and skin rash.
Meanwhile, the latter stage includes symptoms such as: bleeding and organ failure. The CMO assured that once these signs are detected, the Ministry has measures in place to ensure that the disease, which is spread through direct contact, is contained.
[Extracted and modified from GINA]