Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a rare and severe viral disease When infected, people can get very sick, with fever, intense weakness, headache, sore throat and pains, and in severe cases, may bleed from different parts of the body (i.e., hemorrhage).
The Ebola virus does not spread easily from person to person. It is spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids, not through casual contact. Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care.
The following countries are currently affected by EVD:
There have been no cases of EVD in Canada and the risk to Ontarians remains very low.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued Travel Health Notices recommending that Canadians practice usual precautions when travelling in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
As of February 5, 2016, the Order in Council associated with the Quarantine Act has been repealed; therefore, PHAC is no longer giving orders to travellers because of Ebola. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has removed the guidance document entitled Public Health Monitoring of Travellers from Ebola-Affected Countries from this website. Quarantine Officers at points of entry can still require a traveller to undergo a health assessment if there is any reason to believe the traveller has or might have a communicable disease.
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is monitoring the EVD situation overseas.
The ministry has also taken measures to ensure the province's health system is prepared should a returning traveller from an affected country be suspected of having the disease. Health care workers are responding to the risk posed by EVD appropriately by identifying individuals who may be affected, taking enhanced occupational health & safety and infection prevention & control precautions, and testing persons suspected of having EVD as needed.
The ministry will continue to gather information about this disease as it becomes available through health system partners and other international sources in order to monitor and assess the risk to the people of Ontario.
As of February 3, 2016
1The World Health Organization is reporting on cases affiliated with the EVD outbreak in West Africa who have been laboratory confirmed, as well as individuals who are likely to have EVD (but for whom laboratory results are pending or for whom laboratory results are unavailable because they have died).
For more information on the situation in West Africa, see the World Health Organization's Ebola Situation Report.
As of February 5, 2016
2A PUI is a patient who has travel history to an EVD-affected country, who has at least one clinically compatible symptom and for whom EVD laboratory testing results are pending.
3These data do not include persons where Ebola virus testing was considered but not performed due to an inappropriate travel history or alternate diagnosis.
EVD, also known as Ebola, is a contagious disease caused by a virus. The first Ebola virus was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically in Africa.
Based on evidence and the nature of other similar viruses, researchers believe that EVD is animal-borne (zoonotic) and that bats are the most likely reservoir.
No cases of EVD have been identified in Canada, and the risk to Ontarians remains very low.
Ebola can only be spread to others after symptoms begin and it does not spread easily from person to person. The virus is spread through direct contact with:
EVD is a severe illness that starts with the sudden onset of fever, usually with headache, malaise and myalgia. Gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting) are common. Additional symptoms may occur (e.g., sore throat, chest pain, cough, rash, conjunctivitis). Hemorrhagic findings occur in 50% of cases. The case fatality rate ranges from 50% to 90%.
At this time there are no vaccines or Ebola-specific medications (e.g., antiviral drugs) that have been authorized for use in Canada. However, several vaccines have been studied as part of the EVD response in West Africa with good results. Several medications have been used and studied in patients with EVD.
Good supportive care improves the chances of survival for patients with EVD. Supportive care includes:
Those at higher risk of Ebola exposure include:
The Interim Chief Medical Officer of Health has issued directives to hospitals, paramedic services and primary care settings regarding control measures necessary to protect workers and reduce the risk of spreading EVD. The ministry has also developed supporting tools and resources to support health system partners implement the directives, such as the rollout of a training program and training resources for hospitals and paramedics.
The ministry has also developed guidance for public health units to support their management of travellers from Guinea.
The ministry is also collaborating with health system partners to conduct advanced planning for the risk posed by EVD, such as designating hospitals and paramedic services in Ontario that will manage patients with EVD.
The ministry continues to collaborate with health system partners - including hospitals, paramedic services, public health units, and health system unions, associations and regulatory bodies to support health system readiness for EVD.
International travel has always been associated with potential risks. The EVD outbreak in West Africa highlights how important it is for health care workers to ask patients routinely about travel and travel-related activities to obtain valuable information regarding potential exposures to infectious diseases.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has developed a three-tier hospital framework to ensure that the health care system is prepared to manage patients with EVD in Ontario.
Hospitals in Ontario serve one of three roles: treatment hospitals, testing hospitals and screening hospitals.
See the ministry's document entitled A Three-Tier Approach to Ebola Virus disease Management in Ontario for more information on the roles and responsibilities of hospitals in Ontario.
Additional resources developed by the ministry and partners. Health care organizations are encouraged to check back frequently for updates and new tools.
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