No ban on West Africans; students being screened – CMO on Ebola threat

An Ebola stricken patient being treated in West Africa
An Ebola stricken patient being treated in West Africa

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. David Johnson has disclosed that although there will be no travel ban on West Africans coming to Dominica, there is a screening process for medical students coming from that part of the world.

Johnson made the remarks during an interview with State-owned DBS Radio.

He said several stakeholders held discussions on the matter, “and on the advice that we have at this time we cannot go down the route of imposing travel restrictions at this time,” he stated. “So, we would not advise restriction on travel or on trade at this time.”

He said the ministry of health has been working closely with the medical schools, in particular one off shore school that African students attend, for the names and numbers.

“We have developed a screening mechanism,” he noted. “We have gotten the numbers. We will identify those students and persons when they arrive and they will go through what we call a screening questionnaire with those individuals to find out exactly which part of Nigeria they are coming from whether in fact there is any possibility of them being in contact with anybody who may have had Ebola.”

Johnson added that based on what they find in that screening, they will “take it to the next level in terms of isolation and management” of those individuals, .

The CMO said there are advantages and disadvantages of imposing travel restrictions and realistically, he said, with appropriate isolation measures in place to manage any possible case, health authorities don’t expect to get an “explosive situation” of Ebola in Dominica.

Meantime, with several huge acts from Congo and Nigeria scheduled to perform at the Oct 24-26 World Creole Music Festival (WCMF), organizers say they are planning ahead on with how to dealing with the issue.

Marketing Assistant at the Dominica Festival’s Committee Marva Williams said three meetings had so far been held with stakeholders in the areas of health, safety and security and the Environmental Health Department has confirmed that procedures are being put in place to deal with the matter. She said information will be given out as the festival draws closer, “so we can alert the public in terms of measures and where we are at when we get there,” she explained.

Nigerian act “Flavor” and other Soukous acts from Congo such as “Lokassa y Bongo, Dally Kimo, Ballou Canta and Yolanda Sisters” are scheduled to perform at this year’s festival.

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 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 time between acquiring an infection and showing symptoms and signs varies from 2 to 21 days.

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.

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40 Comments

  1. Emile Zapatos
    September 1, 2014

    Are we really cursed, or just suffering from money fever. Britcoin to take our money with the help of our own people.
    And this to take our lives with the help of our own Doctors.

  2. waypapa
    September 1, 2014

    Screening is just part of dealing with the situation. What I want to hear is that we are putting measures in place to manage the situation (in terms of protective gear, medications, isolation unit) if at least one case is suspected. Because it is not only the west African students who present the risk. It could be anybody who gets into contact with another person who is sick with the virus. Like someone said that sick person could be on a plane, or at a rest room in an airport. So we need to look at the big picture and but measures in place not only to protect but to treat it.

    • Emile Zapatos
      September 1, 2014

      The CMO talk about screening, unless he can see virus , he cannot guarantee protection. We have to tell those incompetent civil servants that this is irresponsible behavior. That not banning is a sentence of death and in their case they will be killing themselves too. This disease is contagious and we do not have the capacity to control an epidemic.

  3. LORD HELP US
    September 1, 2014

    All I want to know is what is the screening process??? Where will these students be screened. Does the Caribbean (personnel in airports) have the necessary resources or equipment for the screening process. We have to pray very hard, because if JUST ONE student comes in with this we are finished!!!!

  4. Look it
    September 1, 2014

    You all cant be serious. There is a reason why some African Countries closed their borders. So is Dominica that want to play korpawazor. I think we should close our doors to the africans for a while, until this thing is under control. If that bomb burst d/a we finish. See how fast chickengunya spread. Hmm

    • Simple
      September 1, 2014

      They cut off a whole peninsula in Liberia, that is how drastic a measure they took against that Ebola virus. Black people going down…its okay to read about it, but to think of that coming to Dominica…

  5. Anonymous
    September 1, 2014

    What am I hearing?? ASK QUESTIONS??? SERIOUSLY?????? THis is creating a panic all over the globe and you want to ASK QUESTIONS. And what if someone LIES in the questioning process??? THIS IS CRAP!!!!!!! We need more competent people to handle our health system cuz those there now don’t seem to know what they doing!!

    • Emile Zapatos
      September 1, 2014

      @ Anonymous………..have you been hearing about the death sentences that the PMA is laying down on its patients. Ask the famalies of Swanson Carbon , Justin Coipel or Rosie Riviere, to name a few. Have you ever listen to the death announcements on the radio. It remind me of the saying, “Did you come here today, no I did not come here today ,I came here to die” When you go to the hospital you come back foot first.
      Our health care service must be the worst in the world. We have so much incompetence. Common sense should dictate that the risk is too great, and the ban should remain in place. Can we remember the effects of yellow fever in our early history, or the malaria that remove Portsmouth as the capital of Dominica.
      The CMO and his medical staff should be held more accountable. The government has a duty, even if it means terminating doctors. We must not fear the medical profession as if they have the power over life and death, and we have to accept their incompetence.

  6. peanut brain
    September 1, 2014

    If the Government actually do allow these students to come to Dominica and one case of Ebola comes here, Dominica is doomed it truly is that simple. This obviously has to do with money, money, money and no amount of money will save our lives!! Please if you have an conscience at all and care about the people of Dominica immediately stop any visitors from Africa coming to Dominica and this includes the Creole Festival. It is that simple. Life or death!

  7. sac souwi
    August 31, 2014

    Mass depopulation has begun..this ebola was re introduced into africa by americans backed up by the illuminati agenda ..its a plague which will detroy a third of the worlds population the caribbean will soon be affected their is no way to escape that reality ..the righteous will be comforted the end is here ..To GOD be the glory ..give us strength to endure the suffering

    • Simple
      September 1, 2014

      yeah sac souwi; it bothers me how the two American doctors who were in Africa got the antidote so quickly, and they are okay now. And right now so many ‘black’ people in trouble. I tend to agree that there is a master plan by the people who run things in this world. papa bon dieu..

  8. Anonymous
    August 31, 2014

    I cannot believe the trash I am reading. Questioning people. Are these people in authority sick or what? You all need to protect people from this deadly virus. Ban the people from entering our soil for now, If not. people need to boycut that world creole music festival. That All Saints University should not be reopening yet period!

  9. out of south city
    August 31, 2014

    AIDS/Ebola……Population Control

    Why do we always think that everything negative and destructive to human-kind comes from Africa and not Europe? Do we know that AIDS, Ebola, etc., were manucfactured/created in the labs of America and Europe to be used as biological weapons of mass destruction against the African world and people of colour? The European, because of his warped, pathological mentality, is hell-bent on destroying African people and that includes us, Dominicans. Our number one enemy is not the devil, demons, Lucifer or Satan as we have been made to believe, for all of these names were made up by the Europeans, who handed down to us the bible. As brother Nelson Mandela said, “the leopard has not change its spots.” Recommended reading… “AIDS, United States Germs Warfare at its Best with Documents and Proof.” By Jack Felder(Biochemist, Teacher, Historian)

  10. paul
    August 31, 2014

    the wisest thing that the health department can do for the country at this time is to impose travel restriction especially from heavily affected countries.Dominica is in no way able to deal with a disease of this kind and the only way to protect nationals is to impose the ban..screening is not gonna be able to do any good once the disease is spread..be wise impose travel restriction right now

  11. ME ME
    August 31, 2014

    Clearly we cannot rely on the government to protect us. Take a look at the hospitals in the country. This will not work. Find a better plan for handling this impending health issue. If you do not have the screening facilities at the airport for the students and others coming from certain regions of Africa, get it now, or you have no choice but put a hold on students/people coming to our country from those countries so deeply affected. EBOLA is no chickingunya.

  12. WWJD
    August 31, 2014

    (smh) LORD HELP US!! (sigh)
    Mr Johnson, you and your team of persons from your ministry hold the key to this country’s survival from this Epidemic, Ebola. You, in your position have the power to advice on travel restrictions on the African students coming into this country. You as a medical professional should know more than anyone else that communicable diseases a have incubation periods during which most of the patients have no obvious signs and symptoms( with Ebola its 2-21 days).
    Do you know that an infected person traveling from Africa may sometimes never show signs or have symptoms until they have actually settled here for a few days. And what if they come into the airports sick, what isolation do we have that will guarantee no spread to the public? They are going to be taken to the hospitals for our Health care professionals to carry the virus to their families and beyond? What about our port workers, are they adequately informed on caution to be taken when dealing with ALL persons entering the ports?
    “……..we cannot go down the route of imposing travel restrictions at this time” MR JOHNSON, NO AMOUNT OF MONEY GAINED FROM THESE STUDENTS OR OTHER PERSONS COMING INTO DOMINICA FROM AFFECTED COUNTRIES WILL BE OF VALUE IF EBOLA COMES WITH THEM!!
    WE WILL BE DOOMED!!
    Jesus free us, Jesus heal us, Jesus save us!!!!

    • Emile Zapatos
      September 1, 2014

      Mr Johnson now is the time to impose travel restrictions. Because travel restrictions can be impose on us. Can you imagine the effects an outbreak can do to people travelling to and from Dominica. You know how fast bad news from Dominica travels. Can you imagine coming home from Dominica ,and custom officials saying you cant enter your own country. Have we heard of globalization?
      Or are you just an other dumb civil servant. I heard Doctors take oaths to save and protect lives, are you really a doctor?

  13. But why??
    August 31, 2014

    I don’t usually comment but I must add my input. Why is not the summer break extended for these students(like in Nigeria)? Or Why is there not a screening process even before they arrive on the Island? What if a student contracted Ebola and only begin showing symptoms right before the arrive in Dominica?
    How is the screening going to be done? Do we have the necessary protective gears or other required resources ? Do we have an actual and definite treatment plan in terms of advanced and effective medications to treat these patients? What about getting these patients back home? Dominica is just too small and is not able to contain Ebola if it was to be detected or spread. I think they need to rethink and solicite the public’s opinion as well because I’m pretty sure the effect of this disease would go beyond a board room of health officials. It’s sad how chikungunya could not be contained .The number of cases are just starting to decrease and now we want to play cat and mouse with ebola. Even some African countries are imposing bans for the time on people from these countries .
    Allow the students to do make up classes after, if deemed fit to return after . But, be careful with this plan that you all are about to embark upon.

  14. Ms. B
    August 31, 2014

    CMO please note this is not good enough. Our health care system has failed in many ways and a deadly disease like ebola can easily sip its way through. Questionnaire screening is insufficient in a case like this. Our population is at great risk and I strongly believe that the students should be banned from entering the country for the time being. If not banned then proper screening measure should be taken before they enter the country. The same goes for the WCMF artist coming from Africa.
    ALL NESECCARY MEASURE SHOULD BE TAKEN TO ENSURE THAT THIS DEADLY DISEASE DOES NOT ENTER DOMINICA!

    • Simple
      September 1, 2014

      Questionnaire screening is absolutely ludicrous, bordering on madness. I am already panicking to the core…alas papa mon dieu, nous fini bat..

  15. Anonymous
    August 31, 2014

    We are all trippin’ about the African students…But they are NOT the only ones travelling from Africa. We have to be mindful that the whole world is our oyster and we have access to many places throughout the world. Watch Chikungunya which originates from Asia….it was someone from St. Martin who transmitted the virus here. So the focus should not ONLY be on students or the WCMF acts travelling directly from the affected areas in Africa, it should on any person travelling from the affected areas. “Screening” should be done, such that personnel could find out if passengers (ANYONE) have travelled from any of the affected areas in the past XYZ days. Of course this does not necessarily prevent the virus from entering any country as persons, through flight interactions, may have come in contact with another who, too, may have travelled to one of the affected areas. Better plans must be put in place so we will not be blind-sided.

  16. ANXIOUS
    August 31, 2014

    If this CMO was from The USA or Canada, or the UK, i could accept what he is saying. But this CMO is from Dominica. If there is one case of Ebola here, we are all in shit! Dominica can do no screening; there is absolutely nothing in place to deal with ebola here. I mean why not collaborate with The Owners of ALLSAINTS and do, maybe three assessments/screening in Nigeria before these students board the plane to leave Nigeria! And I believe there should still be another Caribbean point for screening before coming to Dominica. Maybe Puerto Rico where Uncle Sam can assist us. I am not sure how Barbados , Trinidad and Jamaica would cope with this situation. I am aware that the CMO does not want to create panic. But this is real. There are over one hundred students from Nigeria at ALLSAINTS and they keep coming.

  17. peanut brain
    August 31, 2014

    Well I am really totally shocked! Dominica has a very small population. Look how fast Chikungunya spread through Dominica. There is no way that our hospital here could cope with Ebola. Therefore it would be prudent to have a total ban on anyone from Africa coming into Dominica, until the Ebola disease is no longer a threat!

  18. missy ellot
    August 31, 2014

    Are you people Mad :mrgreen: :?: These people are not telling Doctors overseas that they are in or have been in contact with people with the virus is here in Dominica they will tell you ?
    Doctors are dying overseas , health professionals are loosing their lives , is little Dominica where the health system is already not too sokodom , that will be able to screen possible victims of that epidemic?
    It will only have to take one infected Person from Africa to infect the entire population. That EBOLA Virus is like cyanide it has not signs until you dead . Think again people and restrict these entries to Dominica by anyone coming from Nigeria , Lagos ,and so on , if not you people will be sorry mark my words.

  19. Pondera
    August 31, 2014

    Very pro-active measures. I commend the department of Health. Keep us informed.

  20. Citizen
    August 31, 2014

    All Africans should be banned for the time being. :?:

  21. Jail-corrupt-leaders
    August 31, 2014

    Screening Questionaire is a brilliant idea it will keep Dominica safe from Ebola.

    • B.E.B
      August 31, 2014

      How do we know that they will be telling the truth?

  22. LBM zorrrrr
    August 31, 2014

    Allu just like damn money ban them i say wat if dey pass through within the days dat the virus has not made itself present nd come here wat are u ppl goin to say now…nonsense dats real BS there should b a ban on west african student frfrfr…

    • B.E.B
      August 31, 2014

      They should also have in their possession a stamped clean bill of health from a recognized physician

  23. Anonymous
    August 31, 2014

    Do whatever it takes to protect Domincans from this dangerous virus. Good luck.

  24. Apple
    August 31, 2014

    Won’t be coming again I cancels flight because
    Of Nigerian coming to da where the hell u all
    Have hospital and resource if Ebola take
    Over Dominica

    • answer
      August 31, 2014

      Stay damn where you are and don’t show your face…We don’t need bad minded people like you in this country…That place you are don’t have its own sickness then??

  25. JW
    August 30, 2014

    Based on how you all handled chikungunya, we have nothing to fear.

    Screening by asking questions seems to be the best move yet. Wow … our health systems at work.

  26. concerned
    August 30, 2014

    So what if the person is carrying the disease? After they are questioned screened and pass on the virus then they will be denied entry? PLEASE. Plan of no plan. The first person to enter the hospital in Africa with it passed it on and caused the death of all the health workers they came into contact with before they realized what they were dealing with.

  27. Interesting
    August 30, 2014

    This is what the Christian community needs to rally against..disease so deadly.But yet I do not hear any of them speaking but is tommy lee Sparta show they went crazy over.

  28. patriot
    August 30, 2014

    The screening process should cover all persons coming to Dominica. Please do not forget the globe is now like a village ,in travelling you meet people from all parts of the world .

  29. Lapo Layza
    August 30, 2014

    Lord god, creator of heaven and earth help us. Sewo before health. Look with pity on us o jah.

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