The Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness that is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. Good outbreak control relies on applying infection control practices. Although the risk of a case of Ebola or subsequent widespread infection in this province is low, Labrador-Grenfell Health has undertaken a number of actions to enhance preparedness should a potential case of Ebola present itself.
Questions and Answers
What is Ebola Virus Disease (EVD):
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. The Ebola virus can spread through: contact with infected animals, contact with blood, body fluids or tissues of infected persons and contact with medical equipment (such as needles) that are contaminated with infected body fluids. The incubation period is two to 21 days, although eight to 10 days is most common. Diagnosis can be difficult, especially if only a single case is involved.
What are the signs and symptoms of EVD?
Initial symptoms include: fever, chills, headache and muscle pain. Additional symptoms include: rash, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, chest and abdominal pain, and massive hemorrhaging.
What do you do if you become ill?
Call a health care provider immediately if you are showing some of the above symptoms and you or anyone in your household has recently travelled to an area where there is a confirmed Ebola virus outbreak.
Describe your symptoms and mention your recent travel over the telephone so that a health care provider can arrange to see you safely without potentially exposing themselves or others to the virus.
What are the risks of getting Ebola?
There have been no confirmed cases of EVD in Canada. As long as precautions are taken, there is low risk of contracting Ebola in a country where the disease is present. Where the virus is present, people who have close contact with infected humans are most at risk. These people include:
- hospital or laboratory staff caring for patients with EVD and not using appropriate personal protective equipment
- family members caring for patients with Ebola virus infection
The Public Health Agency of Canada works closely with its national and international partners, including the World Health Organization, to track Ebola activity around the world. The Public Health Agency of Canada assesses the risks of Ebola in Canada on an ongoing basis.
What is Labrador-Grenfell Health doing?
Labrador-Grenfell Health has been working with the Department of Health and Community Services and other Regional Health Authorities in the province to ensure strong infection control systems and procedures are in place to protect health care workers and provide safe care. This work includes ensuring proper protocols are in place, holding tabletop exercises, ensuring personal protective equipment is ready and accessible in hospitals, and ensuring our health care workers are properly trained in how to use this equipment.
While the risk of encountering an Ebola case in our region is low, Labrador-Grenfell Health is committed to ensuring we are fully prepared to respond to any Ebola cases that may arise.
The Health Sciences Centre (HSC) in St. John’s is the designated site for adults, and the Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre in St. John’s is the designated site for children for suspected and confirmed Ebola cases in the province. In the event a suspected Ebola case meets the clinical criteria, following consultation with the Provincial Medical Officer of Health, the client will be transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the HSC or the Janeway for direct admission.
If you are concerned about Ebola disease and have recently been in Africa, call the Healthline at 1-888-709-2929 or contact your healthcare provider by telephone and explain the situation to them.
Click to view news releases issued by the Department of Health and Community Services:
- October 17, 2014: Minister Provides Update on Ebola Preparedness and Planning
- October 21, 2014: Minister Outlines Ebola Preparation Activities
- Nov. 13, 2014: Provincial Government Continues to Strengthen Ebola Preparation Efforts
Where can I obtain more information?
- Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Public Health Agency of Canada – Ebola Virus Disease
- Public Health Agency of Canada – Travel Health Notices
- World Health Organization
Ebola infographic: There are Ebola outbreaks. Have you travelled to Africa recently? (download PDF)