Ebola screening urged in Canada as more potential patients watched in Texas

(Updated)

Liberian authorities say they’re going to prosecute the man infected with Ebola in the U.S.

They say Thomas Eric Duncan lied on his airport health questionnaire. With the Ebola outbreak spreading in West Africa, passengers leaving Liberia are being screened for fever and are being asked if they’ve been in contact with anyone who’s infected. On the questionnaire obtained, Duncan answered ‘no’ to those questions.

But neighbours say Duncan helped a sick, pregnant woman in this home. And they say that woman later died of the disease. What’s not clear is if Duncan knew the woman suffered from Ebola.

Meanwhile, Duncan’s family members are being ordered to stay in their home.

Texas officials say the quarantine order was needed because the family was not complying with a request to stay in their apartment. The family is being monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 21-days. Food and supplies are being delivered to them. The owner of the apartment complex says the family is safe.

Sally Nuran, building owner and manager: “Nobody is supposed to go inside the apartment. They are in their apartment, they cannot come out. They are not even allowed to come on the porch. CDC is communicating with them. They are going there. They are monitoring them every day, a couple of hours, a couple of times.”

Thomas Eric Duncan stayed at the apartment before he was hospitalized with the Ebola virus.

Health officials in Canada are ramping up screening and infection control protocols. St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton has had at least two suspected cases of Ebola. Both turned out to be something else, but they gave doctors a chance to fine tune protocols, when it comes to containing the deadly virus. This is where a person suspected of having Ebola would go at St. Josephs Hospital.

Anne Bialachowski, St. Joseph’s Healthcare: “The negative pressure room or airborne isolation infection room allows us to have an anti room — allows us to have negative pressure and it gives us the bathroom which is nicely set up with its own sink.”

Anne Bialachowski is manager of infection control at St. Joe’s. Staff would don the personal protective equipment like gowns, gloves and face masks in a separate room linked to the isolation room. Extra precautions have been added since the outbreak.

Anne Bialachowski: “The leggings you would use in certain cases or the head gear that we would add, also they are using impervious gowns and longer gloves. So we’ve added those in and we’ve done training around those pieces of equipment.”

And they’ve already had a couple of dress rehearsals. Bialachowski says the hospital has dealt with two suspected cases or Ebola recently. Although both turned out to be something else, it provided valuable lessons for staff.

Anne Bialachowski: “It’s been very helpful because what you think is going to happen is not always the way it rolls out on the front lines, so lots of great feedback from staff here in the department around what they need and how they can best function.”

The first person to be diagnosed with Ebola outside of West Africa remains in hospital in Dallas, Texas. Officials say he is in serious but stable condition.

The national microbiology lab in Winnipeg has developed a vaccine for Ebola and Health Canada says it could be distributed to designated hospitals across Canada very soon.

But the vaccine is experimental and will only be used on healthcare providers who become infected.

Dr. Gregory Taylor, Public Health Canada: “The healthcare workers we focused on because they are the ones providing care on the front lines. If they aren’t protected somehow, they aren’t able to help those who are ill.”

The World Health Organization says more than 3,300 people in West Africa have died from Ebola in this outbreak.

The national lab has tested 20 people for Ebola in Canada. None have been positive.

Right now there are only 1,500 vials of the vaccine available worldwide. But Taylor says Canada is ramping up production and they are trying to fast track clinical trials to make it more widely available.


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Comments

Jane says:

we should close our borders to folks coming from this area

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