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First Ebola Virus Confirmed in North America

On September 30, 2014, The World Health Organization confirmed that the first case of Ebola Virus Disease has made its way into North America. The patient recently traveled to Dallas, Texas from Liberia and was admitted to a Dallas area hospital with suspicious symptoms.

Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe and often fatal illness. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids, and tissues of infected animals or people. Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. During an outbreak, those at higher risk of infection are health care workers, family members and others in close contact with sick people and deceased patients.

The current EVD outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013. Since that time, the outbreak has spread to over 6500 confirmed cases in Africa this year. The areas most impacted by the virus has been Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

While the outbreak in West Africa is both devastating for those affected and a concern of international safety, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is reiterating that the overall risk to Ontarians from this outbreak remains low.While EVD carries with it a high fatality rate, the virus itself does not spread easily from person to person. It’s spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids, not through casual contact.

Stevenson is committed to the protection and well-being of our patients. Precautionary measures are taken to ensure the safety of our community and our staff. All patients who come to the emergency department are screened for recent travel history to those areas most impacted by EVD – Sierra Lionne, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria. Should a suspected case present itself at Stevenson, the patient would be immediately placed on Respiratory/Contactprecautions and isolated from other patients.

Resources

The World Health Organization and Public Health Ontario continue to closely monitor the situation globally and can provide the most up-to-date and accurate information via their website.