- Ebola has caused cyclical outbreaks in Africa every few years.
- The current outbreak centred on the Democratic Republic of Congo was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organisation on 17 July 2019.
- The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) considers the risk of Ebola to the Caribbean to be “extremely low” at this time. Local healthcare professionals have been meeting as a precautionary matter.
Local healthcare professionals have met a number of times to assess preparedness since the World Health Organisation declared the current outbreak of the Ebola virus to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern last month.
In addition to facilitating lines of communication between the public and private sector, officials have also been working to review and update plans for dealing with epidemics of this nature and discussing plans with our border control agency.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr John Lee, notes that recognising the outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern allows for intensified and coordinated international action to manage the threat by releasing funds and resources.
Ebola Virus Disease (more simply called Ebola) has caused sporadic outbreaks in Africa since the 1970s. It is likely that the virus is animal-borne, with bats being the most likely reservoir.
Ebola is spread by direct contact (touching) with:
- blood or body fluids of a person who is sick or who has died from Ebola
- clothes, bedding, needles and syringes of a person who is sick or who has died from Ebola
- blood or body fluids from infected bats or non-human primates
- semen from a man who has recovered from Ebola.
Ebola cannot spread to others when a person has no symptoms or signs of the disease. Although there is no licensed vaccination available to date, trials of vaccines are showing a good deal of promise.
Guidance from the World Health Organisation is currently that no country should close its borders or place any restrictions on travel and trade. Additionally, for countries not in the affected areas, there is no requirement to screen passengers arriving at airports or other ports of entry.
For more information, call the Public Health Department on 244-2889 or 244-2621 or Faith Hospital on 948-2243.