A bustling New Dehli street
India which has over 40,000 of its citizens in Ebola-affected African nations has stepped up surveillance measures to check the spread of Ebola. flickr

India, which has close to 45,000 of its citizens in Ebola-affected countries, has announced a slew of measures to check Ebola spread within the nation.

These include screening and tracking of passengers originating or transiting from the Ebola-hit nations.

Health minister Harsh Vardhan informed Parliament on Wednesday, "While the risk of Ebola virus cases in India is low, preparedness measures are in place to deal with any case of the virus imported to India."

Mandatory self reporting by passengers coming from or transiting through the affected countries would be required at immigration check, the minister said, adding that there would be designated facilities at the relevant airports/ports to manage travellers manifesting symptoms of the disease.

The surveillance system would be geared up to track these travellers for four weeks and to detect them early, in case they develop symptoms.

The five new cases of Ebola in densely populated Nigeria have spread panic among nations with experts voicing concern that air travel could spread the virus into a global epidemic.

What will be the global strategy if this virus shows up in Dakkar? In Durbin? In Nairobi? In London? In Paris? We have no plan.
- Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health, Council on Foreign Relations, New York

A collective international response is the need of the hour to keep the disease from taking hold in large, urban areas from where it could spread more easily, said Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "What will be the global strategy if this virus shows up in Dakkar? In Durbin? In Nairobi? In London? In Paris?" he asked. "We have no plan."

UK on Alert

The panic is visible in UK where Public Health Wales has confirmed that an individual in Wales has placed himself "under quarantine voluntarily" following possible exposure to Ebola while visiting Western Africa. The individual does not have symptoms of Ebola and there are no cases of Ebola in Wales.

"We are alert to the possibility of Ebola cases in the UK given the outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea and we remain vigilant to unexplained illness in people who have travelled from the area," PHW said.

The ministry of health in Britain too has confirmed that several Britons are quarantined across the UK with suspected Ebola.

Anna Humphries of Public Health Wales has said, "There are other people in the UK, not in Wales, but we are aware of other people that have come back from affected countries and have been at risk".