A patient is in isolation at a St. Catharines hospital after arriving from the Ebola hot zone of West Africa with “flu-like symptoms.”
The patient is in stable condition and is considered “low risk,” said Niagara Health System (NHS) spokesperson Brady Wood, adding that test results confirming whether the patient has Ebola, a deadly virus, are expected by Thursday.
“Our analysis indicates this situation is very low-risk,” said Dr. Tom Stewart, chief of staff and executive vice-president medical at the NHS.
“We are taking every precaution and isolating the patient per the best practice protocols, with advice from infectious disease experts and public health.”
The NHS won’t confirm where the patient is from or disclose the West African country where the person was travelling.
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The region is beset by the largest-ever Ebola outbreak, with reported cases in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Senegal and Nigeria. A second outbreak of the disease has occurred further south in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
More than 1,500 people have died, while more than 3,000 have contracted the disease during this year’s epidemic, according to the World Health Organization.
Though no cases of Ebola have been reported in Canada, people in Brampton andMontreal have been quarantined as a precaution after returning from Africa with symptoms of the flu. Both patients were ultimately shown not to have the disease.
This latest isolation case in St. Catharines is part of a “heightened vigilance” to prevent to the spread of the disease.
Stewart said Ontario hospitals have been prepping in recent weeks to handle any cases of Ebola. He added that the St. Catharines hospital has new negative pressure rooms and isolation capabilities.
“Our goal in this case is to ensure this individual receives great care while protecting our staff and the public,” he said.
“We will keep the public updated in an orderly fashion, and in the meantime we are asking staff and the public to remain calm and to be extremely vigilant in terms of hand hygiene at our sites.”
Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with an infected person’s body fluid. It has a 90-per-cent fatality rate, making it one of the world’s most virulent diseases, according to the World Health Organization.