Ministry of Health public statement on Ebola outbreak in West Africa

MINISTRY OF HEALTH

PUBLIC STATEMENT

EBOLA VIRUS OUTBREAK IN WEST AFRICA

 August 8th, 2014

           

The world is presently witnessing the largest outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in history with over 1700 cases identified and over 900 deaths. As a result, even as we await the decisions from the World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee meeting taking place in Geneva this week, the Ministry of Health has started increasing preventative measures in response to this threat.

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever), is a severe, often fatal illness. Up to 9 out of every 10 people with the infection die. There are no licensed specific treatments or vaccine available for use in people or animals.   The time between acquiring an infection and showing symptoms and signs varies from 2 to 21 days.

The virus is highly infectious and is spread by person-to-person transmission through direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions of infected persons including blood, sweat, urine or faeces.  

The most common symptoms experienced by persons infected with the virus are the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and at advanced stage, both internal and external bleeding.

Although Dominica does not have direct flights with countries where transmission of Ebola is currently being documented, the introduction of Ebola Virus Disease into our Region may occur through international air travellers.

Furthermore, in the light of the current epidemiological and social context, preparedness efforts to face the introduction of possible Ebola cases is warranted even though the risk to Dominica is low.

The Honourable Minister for Health is keeping Cabinet abreast of all developments and the Government of Dominica is making every effort to protect our citizens from the Ebola Virus.

Immediate measures are being taken to strengthen the surveillance system already in place under the International Health Regulations.  This includes providing relevant information to travellers, increasing medical staff at ports of entry, mobilizing appropriate protective gear, making arrangements for quarantine of persons who are suspect.

In addition, discussions and consultations are taking place between Ministry of Health officials and relevant stakeholders in our community  as well as with international partners including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

Local health personnel are being updated on how to recognize and manage Ebola and all relevant stakeholders are being informed so that necessary plans are in place.

The Ministry of Health will continue to keep the Public informed about Ebola and urges everyone to pay close attention to the messages that will be disseminated in the coming days and weeks.  A hotline number will be made available shortly to receive further information or advice.

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5 Comments

  1. Concerned 2
    August 15, 2014

    Boy all them fellas have to do is forbid the students from coming here… put a damn bann on them until this epidemic is over…. we cldn’t deal with chickungunia is not ebola we will be able to take care of… :?: :oops:

  2. Kernita
    August 13, 2014

    This is ridiculous. Ministry of Health could not even cope with the Chikingunya Virus God forbid that Ebola virus reaches our shores. Our risk of Ebola virus is not low given the fact that African students are entering our island without proper screening being done. Come on MOH we can do much better than this

  3. Pondera
    August 12, 2014

    I commend the Ministry of Health for this press release. It is the right thing to do ahead of people developing their own theory as is always the case. It would be useful to follow up on comments that will come as a result of this article. These comments may be very useful for further education on this disease.

    As was pointed out by someone, we do have African students at our two medical schools. This is a real risk to have ebola on our shores. However I believe the Ministry of Health recognizes the risk especially in the context of international travel and hence, the steps that are being taken.

    Good work MoH!

  4. Question
    August 11, 2014

    The Ministry of Health, it is so wise and encouraging that you all have acknowledged the urgency of this.

    You all have indicated that transmission of this disease is through direct contact with bodily fluids. I would be very grateful if you all could be more explicit on this for the purpose of educating the everyday national like myself. I realize that people can get the disease through kissing, but what about a handshake from an infected person whose hand is sweaty. Skin has pores so can the disease be transmitted in this way to a non-infected person? And exactly what other ways in layman’s terms can the disease be spread throughout Dominica? This disease scares us so much!

  5. Concerned
    August 10, 2014

    Our risk are not low, please remember we host students from african countries. Please advice the Dominican public on the action plan on the return of students on vacation from these countries.

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