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Jamaica on high alert for Ebola

Dr. Kevin Harvey Dr. Kevin Harvey
KINGSTON, Jamaica -nThe Ebola epidemic having been introduced to the United States now poses a real threat to Jamaica, which is constantly upgrading measures to ensure its readiness in the event of an Ebola outbreak.

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Health Ministry, Dr. Kevin Harvey, is having talks with the US Government officials for Jamaica to get an additional supply of Personal Protection Equipment for health workers.

The acting Permanent Secretary says although stock is available in Jamaica, procurement has been fast-tracked to increase the number. Supplies will come from PAHO’s warehouse in Panama.
   
In a statement on Thursday, the Ministry of Health said the acting Permanent Secretary is also discussing partnership with PAHO to prepare for any possible introduction of Ebola in Jamaica. This comes against the background of the confirmed case in the United States.   
        
Harvey discussed several areas in which PAHO will provide assistance and support to the Ministry’s response including the provision of Personal Protection Equipment and gears for health care workers.
    
And there is to be a review of protocols in Jamaica, for the collection and transportation of blood samples to the United States Centres for Disease Control or the Canadian Public Health Agency.
    
PAHO has provided guidelines on the collection, storage and transportation of  samples, including guidelines for the deactivation of  the Ebola virus to ensure safety for lab staff. 
    
The Health Organisation will also provide protocols on surveillance and strengthening detection at points of entry, as well as Accident and Emergency Departments.
    
Discussions will also be held on the availability of  isolation facilities and a review carried out on clinical management of  Ebola cases, medical waste generated from a case; and mechanisms for the disposal of  bodies.  
    
In the United States, up to 100 people may have had direct or indirect contact with the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the country.

On Thursday four people were quarantined in a Dallas apartment.
     
Dallas County officials said 12 to 18 people had direct contact with the patient, who flew to Texas from Liberia via Brussels and Washington two weeks ago and they in turn had contact with scores of  others.  
     
Officials said, none of those thought to have had direct or indirect contact with the patient, who was being treated at a Dallas hospital, were showing symptoms of Ebola.
     
The disease can cause fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea; and spreads through contact with bodily fluids such as blood or saliva.  
     
Ebola has killed at least 3,338 people in Liberia, and two other impoverished West African countries, Guinea and Sierra Leone, in the worst outbreak on record.  
     
Officials have said the U.S. health care system is prepared to contain the hemorrhagic fever's spread, by careful tracking of  those who had contact with the patient, Thomas Eric Duncan.

Last modified onSunday, 12 October 2014 04:51

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