The Ministry of Health says that although the Ebola virus could potentially be transported by travellers to other countries, the actual chance of the virus developing into a serious public health risk in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is small at this time, given that the cases that are being reported are from countries with no direct link to the Caribbean.
“The public is, however, advised that the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment remains on high alert. A risk assessment process has been initiated and clinical staff are now being advised on the signs and symptoms, as well as infection control and protection measures,” Permanent Secretary, Lois de Shong said in a release.
de Shong said the Ministry has established contact with its regional and international partners, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
“CARPHA has advised that it is conducting a risk assessment and will continue to advise us if the risk level changes. CARPHA has also advised that there is no recommended travel restriction at present,” de Shong further said.
The ministry said it is aware of the public concern that the Ebola virus is causing, owing to international travel.
The World Health Organization, in partnership with the Ministries of Health in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria announced a cumulative total of 1,323 suspect and confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) and 729 deaths, as of July 27, 2014.
Of the 1323 clinical cases, 909 cases have been laboratory confirmed for Ebola virus infection.
The Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is the human disease caused by the Ebola virus, named for the region in the Congo (Kinshasa), where it was first identified in 1976.
Symptoms typically start two to 21 days after contracting the virus, with a fever, throat and muscle pains and headaches.
There is then typically nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, along with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys.
At that point, some people begin to have problems with bleeding. The disease is usually acquired when a person comes into contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person.