The risk of Ebola virus disease spreading to Solomon Islands is low according to the World Health Organization (WHO) but precautionary actions are taken through the Ministry of Health to prevent and control the virus.
A statement from the Medical Emergency Operation Centre states Acting Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health Dr Tenneth Dalipanda said the spread of Ebola into Solomon Islands needs to be imported by a person from a country infected by the virus like in Africa.
Dr. Dalipanda said this is unlikely because of the distance from West Africa to Solomon Islands adding multiple fights are required with few people travelling between these countries.
Dr. Dalipanda said that although the virus is transmitted to human contact, Ebola do not transmit the virus until they develop symptoms: typically high fever, exhaustion, headache, and later, vomiting and diarrhoea.
He adds here is no evidence of the virus being transmitted in the sweat or saliva of a person without symptoms.
Meanwhile, WHO Representative for Solomon Islands Dr. Audrey Aumua confirmed that while the risk of Ebola spreading to Solomon Islands is low, strengthening prevention and control measures is important.
Dr. Aumua said Solomon Islands has established protocols in place to rapidly identify and respond to the importation of serious diseases such as Ebola.
Dr. Aumua adds WHO is providing additional Ebola-specific guidance and technical advice to Solomon Islands to enhance the prevention and control mechanisms for this disease.
Solomon Islands took part in a WHO country preparedness survey, as well as a Regional Ebola Preparedness exercise alongside 23 countries in the Western Pacific to test national preparedness and response for a rapid potential of Ebola virus.
The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest ever recorded which includes 4493 deaths from seven countries.