Update On Patient Being Tested For Ebola Virus Disease in Ontario
Ontario Hospital Testing Patient as Precautionary Measure
William Osler Health System's Brampton Civic Hospital is currently testing a patient who recently travelled to Canada from Nigeria and presented with symptoms including fever, headache and malaise.
This action was taken as a precautionary measure and results of the testing are expected within the next 24 hours. Samples have been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.
The patient is currently in isolation and is being treated for a fever and other flu-like symptoms.
The Minister of Health is closely managing the situation and is in close contact with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the local public health unit and the hospital.
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. Although the risk of transmission of the Ebola virus disease in Ontario remains very low, the ministry is taking measures to ensure the province's health care sector is prepared and the public is protected.
Given the current outbreak of Ebola in West 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 or the flu. These symptoms could include fever, malaise, muscle pain and headache.
Health professionals are responding to the alert appropriately, by identifying individuals who potentially may be affected, taking enhanced infection-prevention precautions, and testing. Our system is working as it should.
Ontario learned many lessons from SARS including the need to ensure health care providers have the information they need to respond appropriately and quickly.
The ministry, in collaboration with Public Health Ontario, has recently advised Ontario health care providers of the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, and the need to consider Ebola as one possible diagnosis for travellers who have visited Africa in the previous 21 days, and who show symptoms such as fever, malaise, muscle pain and headaches. Guidelines have been provided regarding: disease diagnosis; specimen collection; infection, prevention and control measures and testing.
- People in need of medical care returning from a West African country affected by the Ebola outbreak should seek care immediately.
- The current Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013. This outbreak now involves transmission in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
- The CMOH notified the health system to the risk posed by Ebola in West Africa in the Spring. Guidance for health care workers was posted on Public Health Ontario’s website on April 9, 2014.
- On August 1 and 8, 2014, CMOH memos were issued to the health system to alert health workers and health sector employers to the latest guidance on appropriate occupational health & safety, infection prevention & control measures and laboratory testing protocols.
“My number one priority is ensuring Ontarians are healthy and safe. I am closely monitoring this situation, I am in constant contact with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and I remain thoroughly confident in our health system's ability to contain and treat any infectious illness. There are currently no confirmed cases of Ebola in North America, but we have taken strong action to prepare our system so that it is fully equipped to deal with any potential cases in Ontario. I want to thank all of the dedicated frontline health professionals and public health officials who have been working together to address the patient’s illness and ensure Ontarians are protected from infectious disease.”
Dr. Eric Hoskins
“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. 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.”
Dr. Graham Pollett
“William Osler Health System is committed to the health and safety of patients, families and staff and we take the prevention of infectious diseases very seriously. Osler’s medical experts have been working with our public health partners to manage the current situation and confirm a patient diagnosis as quickly as possible. I want to thank all of our staff, physicians and volunteers for their dedication and commitment to delivery of patient-inspired care.”