Ebola Updates – Ontario and United States

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A nurse comforts a patient who has been diagnosed to have the Ebola virus. Photo: WHO/Chris Black
A nurse comforts a patient who has been diagnosed to have the Ebola virus. Photo: WHO/Chris Black

Ontario Updates on Ebola Patient

TORONTO – William Osler Health System’s Brampton Civic Hospital is currently testing a patient who recently travelled to Canada from Nigeria and presented with symptoms including fever, headache and malaise.

This action was taken as a precautionary measure and results of the testing are expected within the next 24 hours. Samples have been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

The patient is currently in isolation and is being treated for a fever and other flu-like symptoms.

The Minister of Health is closely managing the situation and is in close contact with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the local public health unit and the hospital.

Both U.S. aid workers stricken with the deadly Ebola virus are now said to be improving. That may be because Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol each received an experimental drug for Ebola.

It’s called ZMapp and it’s only been tested on monkeys until now. They’re in the same isolation ward at Emory Univeristy Hospital in Atlanta.

Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institute of Health says, “We’re hearing, I don’t have direct knowledge of this, but what has been announced from the people taking care of them, that they also have received this cocktail of antibodies which is designed to block the virus. And the reports that we are getting from Atlanta, from Emory is that that is having a positive effect.”

The drug is so experiemental, Brantly and Writbol are the only cases of Ebola authorized to it.

Dr. Fauci thinks it’s too soon to soon to tell if they are going to fully recover.

Symptoms of Ebola

Initial signs and symptoms of Ebola are similar to many more common diseases and health care providers have been advised to be on heightened alert for Ebola cases. Although the risk of transmission of the Ebola virus disease in Ontario remains very low, the ministry is taking measures to ensure the province’s health care sector is prepared and the public is protected.

Given the current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, it is expected that health care providers will consider Ebola as one of the diseases to rule out for persons who have recently travelled to one of the affected African countries, and who are presenting with symptoms seen in many more common diseases such as malaria or the flu. These symptoms could include fever, malaise, muscle pain and headache.

Health professionals are responding to the alert appropriately, by identifying individuals who potentially may be affected, taking enhanced infection-prevention precautions, and testing. Our system is working as it should.

Ontario learned many lessons from SARS including the need to ensure health care providers have the information they need to respond appropriately and quickly.

The ministry, in collaboration with Public Health Ontario, has recently advised Ontario health care providers of the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, and the need to consider Ebola as one possible diagnosis for travellers who have visited Africa in the previous 21 days, and who show symptoms such as fever, malaise, muscle pain and headaches.  Guidelines have been provided regarding: disease diagnosis; specimen collection; infection, prevention and control measures and testing.

QUICK FACTS

  • People in need of medical care returning from a West African country affected by the Ebola outbreak should seek care immediately;
  • The current Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013. This outbreak now involves transmission in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone;
  • The CMOH notified the health system to the risk posed by Ebola in West Africa in the Spring. Guidance for health care workers was posted on Public Health Ontario’s website on April 9, 2014;
  • On August 1 and 8, 2014, CMOH memos were issued to the health system to alert health workers and health sector employers to the latest guidance on appropriate occupational health & safety, infection prevention & control measures and laboratory testing protocols.

 

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