Chief Medical Officer of Health Statement on Patient Being Tested For Ebola Virus Disease in Ontario
Today, Dr. Graham Pollett, Interim Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued the following statement on testing currently underway on a patient who recently travelled from Africa and presented with symptoms such as fever, headache and malaise.
"Ontario's health care system is prepared to respond should an individual arrive with symptoms that could suggest a disease, such as Ebola. To date, there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Ontario and the risk to Ontarians remains very low.
Our hospitals have sophisticated infection control systems and procedures in place that are designed to limit the spread of infection, protect health care workers, and provide the best care possible for the patient.
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.
Given the current outbreak of Ebola in Western 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. These symptoms could include fever, malaise, muscle pain and headache.
The ministry has been working with Public Health Ontario to develop guidance for health workers on implementing appropriate occupational health and safety, and infection prevention and control measures to appropriately manage patients with Ebola. This guidance is available on the PHO Website.
The recommended occupational health and safety, and infection prevention and control measures are based on the Routine Practices and Additional Precautions that health workers apply on a daily basis. Consistently following the recommended occupational health and safety, and infection prevention and control measures will protect health workers against infection by Ebola.
The World Health Organization has also issued a statement with recommendations for countries to reduce the international spread of Ebola. Ontario is addressing the WHO advice relating to countries without cases and not bordering on any affected countries.
Ontario continues to take steps to ensure the health system is prepared should a returning traveller from a country where Ebola is circulating be suspected of having the disease."