Canadian researchers take action in response to international public
WINNIPEG, MB, Sept. 30, 2012 /CNW/ - At the request of the World Health
Organization, the Public Health Agency of Canada is deploying its
mobile laboratory to help respond to an outbreak of Ebola in the
Democratic Republic of Congo. The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister
of Health, today commended the Agency's humanitarian efforts.
"Our Government is committed to supporting global public health," said
Minister Aglukkaq. "As leaders in this field, we are pleased to assist
our international partners in responding to this deadly outbreak to
help save lives."
Agency scientists from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg
will set up its mobile lab in the affected region to provide rapid
diagnostic testing, which is pivotal in responding effectively to the
outbreak. On-site lab tests that can produce results in only a few
hours allow for faster isolation of Ebola cases and better treatment
for all patients. This reduces the risk of people who are infected from
spreading the virus to others, which saves lives and helps contain the
"This is a very serious situation and the Agency is proud to assist in
the response," said Dr. Frank Plummer, Scientific Director General of
the National Microbiology Laboratory. "It's very important that the
international community come together to help control an outbreak of
this nature, both for humanitarian reasons and to protect the health of
all global citizens."
The team is being led by Dr. Gary Kobinger, who has built a strong
global presence with his research into Ebola and other viral
haemorrhagic fevers. Recently, Dr. Kobinger and his team have received
international recognition for the ground-breaking development of an
Ebola treatment and vaccine. The Agency's team also has extensive field
experience from previous outbreaks around the world including in
similar locations. They have developed an extremely agile and adaptable
portable lab system that enables it to travel into the most remote and
isolated regions and operate under difficult circumstances.
Ebola virus is a highly contagious illness that causes death in 25 to 90
percent of all cases. Early symptoms of the disease are similar to
non-life threatening illnesses such as Malaria, which is why early
detection is critical to outbreak response.
The National Microbiology Laboratory is Canada's leading public health
infectious disease laboratory and the only facility in Canada that is
permitted to study and work with live fever viruses such as Ebola and
other similarly highly infectious and deadly organisms.
Également offert en français
Image with caption: "A close-up of a section of the mobile laboratory that will be deployed to Democratic Republic of the Congo. The equipment is essential for the rapid identification of the Ebola virus. (CNW Group/PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY OF CANADA)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120930_C2939_PHOTO_EN_18677.jpg
SOURCE: PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY OF CANADA
For further information:
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health
Public Health Agency of Canada