Ebola Virus

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 6th November 2001.

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Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Conservative, Leominster

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken to stop ebola from entering the United Kingdom.

Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Minister of State, Department of Health

I have been asked to reply.

Cases of ebola haemorrhagic fever are not infectious before the onset of symptoms and there are systems in place, based on the World Health Organisation's international health regulations, to ensure that individuals who appear to be ill on entry to this country are identified and are put in contact with health care services.

We have issued guidance to the national health service on the management and control of viral haemorrhagic fevers to help in the identification and safe care of cases, including the monitoring of contacts. There are two high security infectious disease units in England that provide specialised isolation facilities on a United Kingdom-wide basis for people suffering from or suspected of suffering from highly infectious diseases such as viral haemorrhagic fever. Specialist laboratories, which provide early diagnosis of suspected cases, support these units.

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