GREAT BAY – The current outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa poses a low risk for the Caribbean. There are no cases of Ebola in the Caribbean. Regional public health agencies have been told to continue to monitor the situation and be pro-active in preparing in the event the situation should change.
The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), discussed with regional health authorities on Thursday and Friday about the threat of Ebola with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
The level of risk may change as new information becomes available.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern with respect to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa that is in the States of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
Ministry VSA Surveillance Unit (SU) is actively following the situation in West Africa and is in constant communication with Dutch, Regional and International Public Health Authorities.
Ministry VSA SU is currently preparing notices for physicians to ensure that clinical staff are alert as to the symptoms and signs that they should be looking for, to take a travel history, and that they practice appropriate, evidence-based infection prevention and control procedures at all times.
Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
This EVD outbreak has a fatality rate of 54%. Early intervention is having a positive result on mortality as it used to be 90%.
EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
Ebola first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.
Ebola then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.
For further information you should consult with your family physician or call CPS at telephone number: 542-3553, 542-2078.