Québec’s Hospitals Preparing for Ebola

Québec’s Hospitals Preparing for Ebola
Photo credit: Cynthia Goldsmith, US Centers for Disease Control

Photo credit: Cynthia Goldsmith, US Centers for Disease Control

Quebec City (Quebec) August 10, 2014 – With the few isolated cases of ebola patients trickling in to North American hospitals, Québec City’s CHU-affiliated hospitals have received directives to prepare contingency plans in the event they receive a patient struck with the deadly virus. The ebola virus continues its outbreak in the west-African countries of Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, having caused over 1000 deaths so far. A few people possibly afflicted with the disease have also been evacuated to hospitals in the United States and Spain, while a man suffering from ebola-like symptoms was put into preventative quarantine in Brampton, Ontario, though local officials reported earlier today that the man’s illness was not ebola.

Public health officials specify that they have no reason to believe the ebola virus will make its way to the region, and that the planning is purely a contingency. Jean Lesage International Airport also reports that it is always ready to receive quarantined passengers in the event of a medical evacuation to the region.

The virus, for now, appears contained to the few west-African countries where the outbreak began.  Government officials in Canada have said it is extremely unlikely that the virus will result in an outbreak here.  Canadian pharmaceutical company Tekmira has also seen its testing of an experimental cure to the ebola virus accelerated in response to the small number of afflicted patients evacuated to American hospitals.

The ebola virus is naturally stored in west-African bats, who are immune to the virus but who can occasionally spread it to livestock and humans. Ebola virus disease is still a poorly-understood, highly contagious disease with a mortality rate between 50% and 90%. It spreads through contact with the bodily fluids – airborne transmission of the ebola virus has never been observed in nature. Infected persons and exhibits flu-like symptoms leading into gastrointestinal bleeding, though as the disease shares symptoms with many other less serious diseases diagnosis is best left to professionals.

Life in Québec staff writer

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