West Africa is experiencing an outbreak of Ebola virus disease, a rare and serious viral infection. Health officials in Saskatchewan are monitoring the situation, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada, other Canadian provinces, and the World Health Organization. Preparedness plans are underway in Canada to facilitate prompt identification and prevention of the spread of serious infectious diseases like Ebola virus disease.
The risk of Ebola in Canada is really very low; however, it is not zero, and it is being taken very seriously. We understand the anxiety that this developing situation may cause. Ebola does not spread easily from person to person. It is spread from touching bodily fluids of a person who is sick with, or has died from the disease, or from exposure to contaminated objects, such as needles. This has been a priority for the health system for some time. The Ministry and health regions have been working on this since August with the goal of identifying potential cases as early as possible. They are learning from the experiences of others and refining their own plans and approach.
Heartland Health region, other health regions, the Ministry of Health and system partners are working cooperatively to make sure we all prepare appropriately, even for this low risk. Supplies of materials have been reviewed and further materials ordered, and plans are being made to train staff as appropriate. The Ministry Of Health is also in contact with physicians, health provider regulatory bodies and health provider unions on this issue.
If you have recently travelled to Africa and develop fever or other symptoms of illness within three weeks of return to Canada, call Healthline at 811 for further advice. If Healthline advises you to seek medical help, call ahead and let your health care provider know that you have travelled to a country where Ebola virus is present.
Detailed information has been developed and it is available on the Ministry of Health website at http://www.saskatchewan.ca/live/health-and-healthy-living/public-health-advisories/ebola-readiness. Members of the public can also call HealthLine 811 for information.
Further information is available from the Public Health Agency at: http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/diseases-conditions-maladies-affections/disease-maladie/ebola/index-eng.php
Canadians travelling abroad are encouraged to check the Travel Health Notice on the Ebola outbreak at: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/notices-avis/index-eng.php?rederror=err