Health staff at Nanjing Youth Olympic games on lookout for Ebola virus

Medical staff in personal protective equipment caring for Ebola patients at the case management centre on the campus of Elwa Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.
PHOTO: Health staff at Nanjing Youth Olympic games on lookout for Ebola virus

CHINA - Citing feasible plans and disease control precautions, the Jiangsu provincial epidemic prevention agency is urging the public not to worry about the Ebola virus during the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games.

With 10 days before the Youth Olympics kick off in Nanjing, the number of international visitors has been surging, raising public concern that the crowds - particularly with people from Ebola-hit West Africa - could cause the virus to spread.

The latest WHO updates put the total cases at more than 1,600, including more than 880 deaths, in four countries: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Ebola causes serious illness with a death rate of up to 90 per cent.

However, the Jiangsu provincial centre of disease control and prevention is easing fears over the virus, citing intercity monitoring and well-prepared quarantine procedures during the youth event, which attracts 6,000 athletes and officials from around the world.

"The public doesn't need to panic as we are sufficiently prepared against the virus, which now remains contained in limited areas of the world," Tang Fenyang, director of the centre's acute-disease institute, told China Daily on Tuesday.

A statement issued by the National Health and Family Planning Commission said that the chances of the virus coming to China remained slim.

Tang said the centre has offered education about Ebola to local disease control staff and relevant doctors, and launched a unified monitoring and prevention mechanism with surrounding cities and customs to closely scrutinize any possible threat.

The virus is only spread through contact with infected body fluids such as blood, urine and saliva, said Xiang Nijuan, a senior specialist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meanwhile, the centre in Nanjing has helped the Youth Olympic Village's medical team upgrade its prevention facilities by providing outfits and virus-detection kits, Tang said.

According to the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee, the number of athletes from western African countries is limited.

Still, the medical team will maintain 24-hour contact with the delegations concerned in case of emergency, said Zhao Taihong, medical service manager of the Youth Olympic Village.

"Although the possibility of an Ebola outbreak here is pretty slim, we have made all necessary preparations for any kind of epidemic," Zhao said.

The medical station has set up an isolation area for patients suffering fever, one of the main Ebola symptoms, and has built links with nearby hospitals for further treatment, Zhao said.

The housekeeping team at the village will disinfect when cleaning indoors, and volunteers will sterilize the self-service laundry for athletes.

Wang Xin in Nanjing contributed to the story.

sunxiaochen@chinadaily.com.cn