Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa and Nova Scotia Response Plan
I am writing to provide an update on the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) situation in Africa and the development of response plans for the remote possibility of a suspect or confirmed EVD case in Nova Scotia. The current outbreak of EVD is primarily affecting the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and it is anticipated that the outbreak will persist for a number of months. There has also been a small cluster of cases in Lagos, Nigeria (in health care workers who cared for a case who travelled from Sierra Leone to Lagos) and on Aug. 29th a single case in a student from Guinea was detected in Senegal. On Aug. 27th, the WHO reported a cluster of Ebola cases in a remote village in north-west Democratic Republic of Congo, but is not known if this is related to the Ebola situation in West Africa. Up-to-date information on the situation in West Africa and on EVD can be found at:
While it is a remote possibility that an individual infected with EVD would appear in Nova Scotia it is important that our health system develop contingency plans for such a possibility. Health care providers are requested to be vigilant for the recognition, reporting and prompt investigation of possible EVD cases. Early identification of potential EVD cases and immediate implementation of appropriate infection control measures are the basis of effective response. In addition to communication with primary care providers, a screening tool for 811, 911 and ERs has been developed (see attached) as part of the NS health system’s EVD contingency plan.
It has been decided that in the event an individual requires blood tests to rule out Ebola, arrangements will be made to have an appropriately equipped ambulance transport the patient from where they are first identified (home, clinic or ER) directly to either the QEII or IWK in Halifax. Blood work and other investigations on possible Ebola patients are only to be done at these two facilities. The Canadian Critical Care Society, the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada and the Canadian Association of Emergency Physician have jointly developed Ebola Clinical Care Guidelines for clinicians in Canada. These will be posted on their respective websites in the near future.