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Manpower Agency Warn Migrant Workers of Ebola Disease

The Indonesian National Agency for Placement and Protection of Indonesian Workers Overseas (BNP2TKI) has warned Indonesian workers abroad, particularly those working in the Middle East, against possible contraction of Ebola virus.

"We consider the Ebola virus issue to be a serious problem that needs a serious response, as well. We have to take anticipatory steps in order to prevent Indonesian migrant workers abroad from being infected with the disease," BNP2TKI Public Relations Head Haryanto said.

He noted that the disease, detected for the first time in 1976 and known as Ebola dengue fever, was a deadly disease for its victims. The virus was first detected in remote areas in Central and Western African countries.

"Ebola is communicated through wild animals and then spread to human being and then from man to man," he said.

Haryanto said however that no Indonesian workers in the Middle East have been infected with the Ebola virus, but the BNP2TKI must continue monitoring the spread of the virus.

"We have to paid special attention to this issue," Haryanto said. He added that since the emergence of the Ebola virus, which had drawn the world's attention, the BNP2TKI has worked hand in hand with the Health Ministry to provide information about the virus before Indonesian migrant workers leave for overseas jobs.

The virus infection now is breaking out in the three African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, where more than 2,000 people have been infected, of whom more than 1,000 have died.

He said a patient who has contracted the virus could suffer from fever, throat ache, vomiting, diarrhea, reddish skin, muscle pain, headache, and damage to kidneys and livers.

"We ask Indonesian migrant workers to see this issue as a serious matter, so that they would remain vigilant," the BNP2TKI head said.

In the meantime, Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi said Indonesia is ready to deal with the much feared epidemic Ebola.

At least 100 hospitals have been prepared in all provinces to take care of people suspected of being infected with the disease, Nafsiah said here on Tuesday.

All epidemics suspects will be referred to the 100 hospitals. Treatment against Ebola is not different from treatment against other viruses," she said.

The 100 hospitals were prepared to deal with epidemics when the first case of bird flue was found in the country in 2008, she said.

With assistance from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Indonesian government has prepared a system to deal with epidemics in line with the International Health Regulation (IHR).

"We have made ready a system , according to the IHR including controlling , detection and medication and standard actions," she said.

Among the hospitals are RS Persahabatan and RS Penyakit Infeksi Sulianti Saroso in Jakarta.

Earlier the Indonesian health minister said that the possibility was little of Ebola entering Indonesia as the country is far away from the three countries hardest hit -- Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

In addition, WHO and its member countries have imposed strict restriction and control of travels to the three countries. (antara)