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Watch for Ebola, P.E.I. health care workers reminded

Doctors and nurse practitioners across P.E.I. received a memo last week outlining the signs of the Ebola virus.

Appearance of Ebola in province 'very unlikely,' says chief health officer

Doctors and nurse practitioners across P.E.I. received a memo last week outlining the signs of the Ebola virus.

It is very unlikely a case of Ebola will appear on P.E.I., says Chief Public Health Officer Heather Morrison. (CBC)

This is just one precaution chief public health officers across the country are implementing, as the worst ever epidemic of the illness continues in Africa.

Provincial Chief Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison told CBC News Wednesday it's very unlikely P.E.I. would ever see a case of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. Protocols and procedures are being drawn up, however, just in case.

"We do want to remind healthcare workers, in particular, to watch for certain symptoms and to be able to recognize and report suspected or potential cases of Ebola virus, in the very unlikely event we might get someone on P.E.I. who has Ebola virus," said Morrison.

Morrison said P.E.I. blood samples would have to be sent to a national lab in Winnipeg for testing.

Over the weekend an Ontario man was kept in quarantine at a hospital until it was confirmed his symptoms weren't Ebola. Morrison said similar procedures would be followed here.

Morrison said the memo also reminds healthcare workers that the Ebola virus does not spread easily. It requires direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person, and not just casual contact. It outlines the precautions health care workers should take when dealing with a possible case of Ebola.

Border Services agents at Charlottetown Airport are also on alert, said Morrison.

Airport Authority CEO Doug Newson confirms agents are surveying people as they get off direct flights from New York, asking if this is their first flight or if they originated elsewhere. Those international flights make P.E.I. a port of entry.

Morrison said the agents also look for anyone who is ill. Airline regulations require that sick passengers be reported, not just to prevent the spread of Ebola, but other illnesses as well.

Morrison said the outbreak of SARS in Toronto in 2003 taught Canada many lessons in how to prevent the spread of disease from other countries.

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