Ebola precautions invoked after 2 false alarms in St. John's
David Allison says Eastern Health prepared, but not worried
Despite two false alarms in Newfoundland and Labrador, officials with Eastern Health say there is little worry about the Ebola epidemic reaching the province.
Dr. David Allison, the medical officer of health for the eastern region, said there were two people treated at hospital in St. John's who exhibited symptoms consistent with Ebola, but it was later determined they didn't have the virus.
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The first incident involved someone leaving a flight at St. John's International Airport because of Ebola-like symptoms. The second involved someone who had just returned to the province from Africa and went to the hospital because they became sick.
While Allison said both were false alarms, there was a push to make sure the province's health authorities were prepared to deal with a case of Ebola.
"What we're concerned about, and what we've perhaps had a couple of incidents over the past couple weeks to really alert us to, is the possibility that people may be travelling from [the concerned] part of the world and arrive here and we need to be prepared to deal with it," said Allison.
According to the World Health Organization, an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has led to 1,427 deaths out of 2,615 known cases as of Friday. The four affected countries include Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
Allison said while the health authority isn't concerned about an outbreak of the virus in Newfoundland and Labrador, they're working to ensure measures are in place to minimize risk.
"It's a big enough concern that we've been reviewing the protocols for arriving flights, and often flights are diverted here because of sick passengers — we have lots of sick passengers coming off for various reasons, very few come off because of communicable diseases," he said.
"But there's a protocol whether the flight is going to Goose Bay, to Gander, or here [St. John's], there's a protocol involving a quarantine officer, contact with the medical officer of health, contact with the hospital, that basically allows us to be alerted in advance of a particular illness and be prepared."
St. John's serves as a frequent stop for trans-Atlantic flights heading in or out of Canada.