The Public Health Department in the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) confirms that there are no cases of Ebola virus have been reported in Qatar currently.

According to Qatar News Agency (QNA), SCH is monitoring the global situation and the latest World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations in this regard since the first case which was reported in last March reported in Guinea through the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN). Today, at least 932 deaths in four countries have been blamed on the illness, with 1,711 reported cases.

A SCH statement explained that the Infection occurs from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, or other bodily fluids or secretions (stool, urine, saliva, semen) of infected people. Infection can also occur if broken skin or mucous membranes of a healthy person come into contact with environments that have become contaminated with an Ebola patient’s infectious fluids such as soiled clothing, bed linen, or used needles. The risk of becoming infected with the Ebola virus disease during a visit to the affected areas is very low as transmission requires direct contact with blood, secretions or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animals. On Incubation Period, Signs and Symptoms, the statement said:

Sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat are typical signs and symptoms. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. The incubation period, or the time interval from infection to onset of symptoms, is from 2 to 21 days. The patients become contagious once they begin to show symptoms. They are not contagious during the incubation period.

Ebola virus disease infections can only be confirmed through laboratory testing. Based on WHO’s recommendations, no restrictions to travel and trade are to be advised. However, in case of necessary travel to Guinea, Sierra leone, Liberia, travellers should take the following preventive measures:

  • Understand the nature of the disease, how it is transmitted, and how to prevent it from spreading further.
  • If there was a suspect case close to you or in your community of having Ebola virus disease, encourage and support them in seeking appropriate medical treatment in a care facility.
  • If you choose to care for an ill person in your home, notify public health officials of your intentions so they can train you and provide appropriate gloves and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as instructions as a reminder on how to properly care for the patient, protect yourself and your family, and properly dispose of the PPE after use.
  • When visiting patients in the hospital or caring for someone at home, hand washing with soap and water is recommended after touching a patient, being in contact with their bodily fluids, or touching his/her surroundings.
    People who have died from Ebola should only be handled using appropriate protective equipment and should be buried immediately.

The Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control (HP&CDC) at the SCH regularly alerts the healthcare workers at the private and the public hospitals via dissemination of educational materials and guidelines, which contain the most recent updates about the outbreak and its distinguishable features to make its detection and notification easier through the contact points.

SCH works in close collaboration with HMC and authorities at the airport points of entry where there are isolation areas allocated to any suspected case of contagious disease along with trained healthcare workers ready with their personal protective equipment (PPEs) for such kind of event.

The WHO will convene an Emergency Committee on Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) under the IHR 2005 on 6 and 7 August 2014.