As the Ebola outbreak claims more victims around the globe, Israel is taking serious measures to counter the danger of the disease entering the country.
Israel held an Ebola defense exercise on Friday at Ben Gurion airport, simulating the containment and treatment of a passenger landing at the airport and suspected of carrying the disease. Ben-Gurion International Airport units, the Health Ministry, Magen David Adom (Israeli Emergency Services), the Interior Ministry Population and Migration Authority, and the Israel Police all participated in the drill.
The exercise included the locating of passengers arriving from countries afflicted with Ebola, holding them in isolation, preliminary medical treatment and evacuation to a Tel Aviv hospital.
According to Health Ministry guidelines, passengers coming from countries where Ebola had been spreading over the past three weeks and who have fevers of over 38 degrees Celsius must be evacuated to an isolation clinic and from there to a hospital.
The exercise was held following discussions held by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent weeks with relevant authorities geared towards the preparation for the possible spread of Ebola worldwide.
Netanyahu instructed the National Security Council, in conjunction with the Health Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Transportation and Road Safety Ministry, Interior Ministry Population and Migration Authority, the Airports Authority and other agencies, to lead staff work on the nation’s readiness to deal with the epidemic.
Israel experienced an Ebola scare Saturday night after a patient treated at the Nahariya Western Galilee Medical Center said he had recently arrived from Africa.
The medical center’s ER team activated an “Ebola Protocol” and comprehensively checked the patient’s vital signs. In coordination with the contagious diseases ward, they concluded that the patient did not meet the criteria for the deadly virus.
At least 9,000 people have already been infected with Ebola, which has killed more than 4,500 in West Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Tuesday that the disease is showing a 70-percent mortality rate, much higher than the 50-percent rate in past outbreaks. It also warned that by December, the number of infections in West Africa may climb to 10,000 people a week.
Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer: United with Israel