3 Winnipeg scientists exposed to Ebola coming home

Three Winnipeg scientists being forced out of Sierra Leone likely won't spend time in a hospital containment unit.

Researchers to stay under voluntary isolation, likely won't spend time in hospital quarantine

Dr. Joel Kettner, Manitoba's former chief medical officer of health, said three Canadian researchers exposed to the Ebola virus and recently evacuated from Sierra Leone likely won't spend any time in hospital when they get home. (CBC)

Three Winnipeg scientists coming home from Sierra Leone likely won't spend time in a hospital containment unit.

The Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg is preparing its isolation ward for potential Ebola patients for the public or anyone connected to the National Microbiology Lab.

But Dr. Joel Kettner, medical director of the  International Centre for Infectious Disease said the evacuated lab workers likely won't spend any time at the hospital because they're not sick.
Dr. Michael Gardam with Toronto's University Health Network approved of Health Canada's decision to evacuate the three Canadian scientists. (CBC)

“We wouldn't typically put that person into a quarantine such as a hospital bed or some location where they can't travel,” said Kettner. “We would ask them to stay within the city so we can keep in touch with them.”

The Public Health Agency of Canada said the researchers are not ill or experiencing any symptoms. They're coming home but will stay under voluntary isolation as a precaution, because three people in their African hotel have become infected with Ebola.

“There's people who were staying in the same hotel who turned out to have Ebola virus,” said Dr. Michael Gardam, who is in charge of infection prevention and control at Toronto’s University Health Network.

“That makes everyone extremely uncomfortable,” said Gardam. “That's not supposed to be happening, so  based on that alone, Health Canada has made a very smart decision, which is unless we can guarantee the safety of our staff, they shouldn't be there.”

Gardam said the researchers will likely be watched closely for 21 days to see if any symptoms develop.