A Japanese tourist visiting India is reportedly suspected to have contracted the Ebola virus that is wreaking havoc across West Africa and causing scares from Dallas to France. Kawakubo Yuko, 27, was visiting Imphal, the capital of the Indian state of Manipur, after touring five other countries and arriving from Myanmar, The Hindu, an English-language daily Indian newspaper, reported Monday.
Yuko was planning to tour Manipur, but her trip was cut short when she began to exhibit symptoms of a potential Ebola infection. After tests for more common illnesses came up negative at Imphal’s hospital, doctors sent blood samples to India’s National Institute of Virology to be tested for Ebola, The Hindu reported.
If she’s found to be positive for Ebola, Indian health officials may decide to have her moved to the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, because it has an isolation ward, which Imphal’s J.N. Institute of Medical Sciences, where she’s currently being held, does not, according to India’s Z News service. Z News added that Indian officials may decide to screen visitors to Manipur for the Ebola virus infection.
Yuko’s case isn’t the first to raise alarms about Ebola potentially spreading to India. A 26-year-old Indian man named Alip Das was reportedly suspected earlier this month of having contracted Ebola during a trip to Nigeria, which has had a number of Ebola cases. But tests showed that he didn’t have Ebola, according to the Echo of India newspaper.
But fears and anxiety about the deadly virus have been — and remain — high across India, as the country works to keep Ebola from reaching its people. Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan spoke out in late August to quash rumors that a person who had traveled to Liberia had brought the hemorrhagic fever back from the Ebola-ravaged country, India’s NDTV reported.
“We are carefully screening all passengers coming from Ebola infected countries at the airport itself. As of today there is no suspected case of Ebola in India,” the health minister said in Indore.
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