Nepal is at a greater risk of contracting imported infectious diseases. Many Nepalese are working as migrant workers in several nations, where increasing cases of Zika, Ebola, and other types of influenza were reported by doctors. There is a high risk of imported disease outbreak here in Nepal.
Nations, where thousands of Nepalese are employed as India, Qatar, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia, have reported the outbreak of various infectious diseases. According to Dr. Sher Bahadur Pun, coordinator of Clinical Research Unit at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Nepalese returning home can carry these infectious diseases which can result to outbreak in Nepal.
For example, our neighboring nation, India has confirmed 94 cases of Zika. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Zika is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day.
“The virus can enter Nepal anytime as Nepal shares an open border with the neighboring country and thousands of people move across the border every day,” said Dr. Pun. He also stated, “We have a humid climate, which provides a fertile environment for mosquitoes to breed,” adding, “Nepal has not conducted any test to confirm Zika cases in Nepal.”
“It is high time we paid attention to controlling these infectious diseases from spreading in Nepal,” Dr. Pun said. But unfortunately, Nepal does not have advanced laboratory and testing kits to test these diseases,” he further stated.
Infectious diseases as H1N1, Chikungunya, and Crimean-Congo H fever from India can get easily transmitted to Nepal, stated Dr. Pun. There is also a high risk of imported disease outbreak; Nepal is also at the risk of contracting Dengue from India, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh; Hantavirus from South Korea; Flu H7N1-Influenza A virus from Qatar; Severe Malaria and Ebola from Africa; the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) from Saudi Arabia; Poliovirus and Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever from Pakistan; and Bird Flu (H7N9) from China, Dr. Pun informed.
The Ministry of Health and Population claims that the government has been monitoring the situation at regular intervals and has directed the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division to provide updates every week.
“We have set up health desks at the international airport and in border areas to detect infected people. We also have a Bio-Safety Laboratory of Level-3 to test different kinds of diseases,” MoHP Spokesperson Mahendra Shrestha said. He, however, acknowledged that the lab cannot detect all types of infectious diseases. “That’s why we are planning to upgrade the laboratory,” Shrestha said.
Reference: The Himalayan Times