Ebola risk here low, but officials are ready – just in case

By Gwydion Morris
Sept. 10, 2014

International students are returning to UPEI for another school year and some are from Africa, where the deadly ebola virus is spreading.
However unlikely, one of these students could bring the virus into their next lecture.
But UPEI is ready.
“It’s always good to be prepared,” said Denise Bustard, the health and safety advisor at the university.
If there is a possible ebola case, the chief public health office is contacted immediately and they take over from there, as the physician on campus is not equipped to deal with such a case, Bustard said.
“They take control of the situation and we leave it to their expertise.”
The next step is to find out who else the student may have come into contact with to prevent the spread of any disease, Bustard said.
Quarantine in possible outbreaks has been used in Canada before. Connie McNeill, the senior communications officer for the P.E.I. department of health and wellness, declined to go into details about the Island’s plan for a possible outbreak.
If any calls come in there’s always a plan and team in place, said McNeill.
“They detect and respond very quickly,” she said. “That’s what they do.”
The chances of ebola making its way into Canada is slim, said McNeill.
For the virus to spread, bodily fluids must be exchanged from one person to another.
“You won’t get it from sitting beside someone on the bus,” McNeill said. “The risk is very low.”
P.E.I.’s chief public health office is working with other health departments across the country to monitor the virus and anyone who might show symptoms.
There are no known cases of ebola outside the African nations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone where almost 2,300 people have died since an outbreak was detected in March.
The virus kills by inducing a high fever, which leads to lethal amounts of internal and external bleeding
Ebola has no known cure or vaccine and the fatality rate is roughly 70 per cent, according to experts.

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