The Government of Canada announces return of a mobile laboratory from Kailahun, Sierra Leone

WINNIPEG, Feb. 3, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, and Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Gregory Taylor, today announced that one of the Public Health Agency of Canada's mobile laboratory teams in Sierra Leone is returning to Canada after successfully concluding its mission working with Doctors Without Borders on the Ebola outbreak response.

Canada has maintained a mobile laboratory in Kailahun since June 2014 staffed with rotating teams of scientists. The laboratory was providing rapid diagnostic support to local healthcare workers to quickly diagnose Ebola. At the outset, the team was testing samples from up to 150 patients a week for the Ebola virus. Today, the Kailahun district in Sierra Leone has not recorded a positive Ebola case in more than 42 days.

With the return of the Kailahun mobile laboratory team, the Agency now has four scientists operating two mobile laboratories in Sierra Leone. One team is providing laboratory capabilities to diagnose Ebola in Magburaka. The other team recently moved to Freetown, to provide support where it is needed the most, and is testing samples from Ebola patients to support their ongoing clinical care.

The returned mobile laboratory from Kailahun will remain on stand-by in Canada and be ready for re-deployment to West Africa if required.

The Government of Canada has been working closely with its international partners, including Doctors Without Borders, the World Health Organization and the Government of Sierra Leone to help stop the transmission and spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone.

Quick Facts

  • Canada is a leader in fighting Ebola and continues to contribute to the outbreak response in West Africa. The Government of Canada has committed more than $110 million, to support health, humanitarian, and security interventions both at home and abroad to address Ebola.
  • Canada has also offered in-kind support – such as mobile lab teams – and has donated 800 vials of Canada's experimental Ebola vaccine and personal protective equipment.
  • The Agency's clinical mobile laboratory team based in Freetown, Sierra Leone is providing physicians with timely information about the health of their patients, such as electrolyte levels, blood chemistry and indicators of renal and liver health. This allows healthcare workers to design care plans specific to a patient's needs.
  • Each mobile laboratory team's rotation in the field typically lasts four weeks.
  • The Government of Canada recently launched the "Join the Fight Against Ebola" campaign, which promotes the recruitment of Canadian healthcare workers through the Canadian Red Cross.
  • Canadian Armed Forces healthcare and support staff are in Sierra Leone providing patient care at an Ebola treatment facility.
  • There has never been a case of Ebola in Canada. The Ebola virus does not spread easily from person to person. It's spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids, not through casual contact.

Quotes

"It is an incredible accomplishment that today we can announce the return of our mobile laboratory team from Kailahun, Sierra Leone. The spread of Ebola in Kailahun was devastating but throughout the worst of the outbreak, Canadian scientists remained in the district to provide critical laboratory diagnostic capabilities. It is with great pride that I thank all Agency employees who worked tirelessly in Kailahun and who truly made a difference in the lives of so many."
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"By working closely with our international partners and the Government of Sierra Leone, the Agency was able to quickly set-up a mobile laboratory in Kailahun during the height of the outbreak. Agency scientists were an essential component in successfully combatting the virus in Kailahun. We are incredibly proud of the professionalism and the dedication of our employees over the past eight months and welcome them home after a job exceptionally well-done. "
Dr. Gregory Taylor
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

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SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada

For further information: Michael Bolkenius, Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Media Relations, Public Health Agency of Canada, (613) 957-2983

RELATED LINKS
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

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