Province working on response plan to Ebola outbreak

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has the province working on a response to protect Albertans.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has the province working on a response to protect Albertans.

The last time Alberta put its pandemic plan into action was for the 2009 influenza pandemic after the international outbreak of swine flu or H1N1.

“There are elements of that plan that we’ve reinforced with both Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services over the last couple of weeks,” Dr. James Talbot, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said on Tuesday, the day after the federal government announced a $2.5-million donation in protective equipment, such as gloves, respiratory masks, face shields and gowns in response to the Ebola outbreak.

“Until the outbreak in Africa is brought under control, we’re not going to be completely safe.”

So far there has never been a case of Ebola in Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada says the risk to Canadians is low.

Ebola causes hemorrhagic fever in humans and animals and can lead to internal bleeding and organ failure. It is often fatal.

Talbot said Canada and Alberta have excellent medical systems.

“Alberta Health Services runs a first-rate operation and we have great public health so we’re reasonably well protected.”

He said the province is constantly reviewing and renewing its approach to all sorts of hazards. Its pandemic plan looks at who does what, and makes sure occupational health and safety, infection control and prevention, public health, acute care hospitals, and emergency management services all work as an integrated, co-ordinated team.

“Ebola is slightly different from influenza because, thankfully, it isn’t transmitted by respiratory route, with what we call aerosol. It’s mainly by personal contact and infected material.”

Ebola is spread through direct contact with infected body fluids.

Talbot said the Public Health Agency of Canada is co-ordinating what kind of responses the provinces and territories would be prepared to make to the international effort.

He said some health-care workers within Alberta have volunteered to go to countries affected in West Africa to help out. Participation has been done on an individual basis.

Talbot recommended that members of the public not travel to affected areas unless absolutely necessary. If they have to go, they should register with the federal government.

The federal government has issued travel health notices due to Ebola for Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal.

Across Canada, systems are in place to identify and prevent the spread of serious infections like Ebola, including monitoring and tracking infectious diseases and administering the Quarantine Act at all points of entry into Canada 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To date, Canada has contributed over $5 million in support of humanitarian, security and public health interventions to address the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa. A mobile lab unit, based in Sierra Leone and staffed by Public Health Agency of Canada workers was sent to provide laboratory diagnostic support to help identify those infected.

Canada also donated 800 to 1,000 doses of Vesicular Stomatitis Virus-based vaccine, an experimental vaccine for the Ebola virus.

Talbot said community organizations in Alberta have been asking what they can do to help and countries impacted say the best way is to donate money so they can buy what they need nearby.

The Canadian Red Cross is one the charities working with communities affected by the Ebola virus. Donations can be made to its International Disaster Relief Fund. For information, visit www.redcross.ca.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Big-time entertainers to perform in Red Deer during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Musicans announced include Strumbellas, k-os, Brett Kissel

Builders say it’s not the time for higher permit fees in Red Deer

Construction industry is hard hit by slow economy

Bighorn Country telephone town hall for Red Deer area set for Wednesday

Residents can phone in from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to hear about the project or ask questions

YouTube revises policy, bans dangerous prank videos

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — YouTube is trying to prevent otherwise bright people… Continue reading

WATCH:2019 Canada Winter Games torchbearers announced

Sixteen torchbearers announced with others to be revealed during Opening Ceremonies

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Liberal candidate steps aside after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Alberta doctor accused of sexual assault asked to voluntarily give up practice

College says Dr. Barry Wollach should discontinue his practice, given the seriousness of the allegation against him

Speedy acceptance of Saudi shows refugee system’s flaws

Who would not wish Rahaf Mohammed well? The 18-year-old Saudi wants to… Continue reading

Hertl’s hat trick leads Sharks past Penguins 5-2

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Tomas Hertl needed just three games to get… Continue reading

Starring role beckons for Canada’s Alphonso Davies at Bayern Munich

BERLIN — Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies could be thrown in at the… Continue reading

Bus singer gives voice to Venezuela’s growing diaspora

LIMA, Peru — A year ago, Venezuelan migrant Reymar Perdomo was singing… Continue reading

Corey Hart to be inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame at Juno Awards

TORONTO — Crooner Corey Hart will join Canadian music royalty in the… Continue reading

Most Read