Strengthened public health measures for travellers extended
OTTAWA, June 22, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, and Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Gregory Taylor, today provided an update on Canada's ongoing commitment to domestic Ebola preparedness and highlighted the continuing support provided to the outbreak response in West Africa.
Strengthened Public Health measures for travellers extended
The Government of Canada is extending the strengthened public health measures for travellers returning from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia to protect the health and safety of all Canadians and help prevent the spread of Ebola to Canada. These measures originally took effect on November 10th, 2014 and will be in place through December 31, 2015.
Under these measures, Quarantine Officers will continue to order travellers with a travel history to Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia within 21 days prior to their arrival in Canada to report to a local public health authority and self-monitor for up to 21 days.
As of May 9, 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Liberia Ebola-free, but recommended that the country maintain a system of heightened surveillance for a further 90 days. With this in mind, the Government of Canada will re-evaluate these public health measures once this 90-day period is over.
The Government of Canada has consulted with the provincial and territorial health authorities, as well as numerous non-government healthcare organizations, to ensure the measures are fair to returning healthcare workers and in the best interest of all Canadians.
Ebola Rapid Response Team advance site visits completed across Canada
The Government of Canada's Ebola Rapid Response Team has completed its advance planning site visits across Canada to strengthen our preparedness to respond in the event a case of Ebola is confirmed in Canada.
Between October 2014 and April 2015, the Rapid Response Team conducted site visits with all provinces and territories as part of the ongoing effort to ensure all levels of government are well integrated and prepared to effectively respond jointly. The visits included planning discussions and in some cases, exercises designed to determine how the federal government could best support provinces and territories should a case of Ebola occur anywhere in Canada.
Containing the spread of an infectious disease like Ebola requires collaboration across all levels of government and the health sector. The Government of Canada continues to work closely with its partners in health to ensure that we are well prepared and coordinated. The Ebola Rapid Response Team's efforts across Canada are an essential component of that planning.
Contract signed to manufacture ZMapp™ Ebola treatment to help protect Canadians
On June 10, 2015, a $4.5 million USD contract was announced between the Government of Canada and Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Inc. to manufacture a number of courses of ZMapp™ monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment for Ebola.
The ZMapp™ treatment, developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical, uses two mAbs discovered by scientists at the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg and one mAb discovered by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
Access to the ZMapp™ Ebola treatment will complement the Government of Canada's overall Ebola preparedness and response activities.
Update on the Government of Canada's "Join The Fight Against Ebola" recruitment campaign
Since the launch of the Government of Canada's "Join the Fight Against Ebola" campaign in November 2014, 946 Canadian medical and support personnel expressed interest in joining the Canadian Red Cross fight against Ebola. This includes Public Health Agency of Canada employees, employees from other Government of Canada departments as well as provincial government employees.
To date, 54 Canadian Red Cross delegates have been deployed to West Africa as part of the fight against Ebola. These much needed healthcare workers have helped manage existing Ebola Treatment Centres in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, by providing care for patients and allowing facilities to expand the number of treatment beds available.
In addition to the Canadian Red Cross campaign, the Public Health Agency of Canada has deployed more than 40 public health and support personnel to West Africa. These specialists each bring different expertise to support the outbreak response, including emergency management, epidemiology and border health and, in the case of laboratory staff from the National Microbiology Laboratory, provide diagnostic capabilities to rapidly detect Ebola cases and provide clinical information to organizations responding to the Ebola outbreak.
For more information on how healthcare workers have been making a difference in the fight against Ebola, visit Canada.ca/ebolavirus.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of June 15, 2015, there were 27,305 reported cases of Ebola and 11,168 reported deaths in West Africa.
- The Government of Canada has committed a total of more than $110 million to support health, humanitarian, and security interventions to address the spread of the disease and for further research and development of Ebola medical countermeasures.
- The Government of Canada's Rapid Response Team includes Public Health Agency of Canada experts in the areas of epidemiology, infection prevention and control, biosafety, laboratory diagnostics, communications, and logistics.
- If at any point Canada was to confirm a case of Ebola, on request of provincial or territorial partners, the Rapid Response Team would be deployed to work with the provincial/territorial and local health authorities to provide additional resources and complementary expertise to prevent any further spread of the disease.
- The Rapid Response Team works with provincial/territorial health authorities to assist in containing the spread of Ebola by supporting containment protocols, assisting with contact tracing and data management, augmenting laboratory capacity, and provision of additional supplies (such as personal protective equipment) from the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile.
- The "Join the Fight Against Ebola" recruitment campaign, in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross, targets Canadian healthcare workers, including federal employees, with the relevant clinical skills and experience, to help fill the demand for healthcare workers and specialists in existing Ebola treatment centres in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
- There has never been a case of Ebola in Canada. The Ebola virus does not spread easily from person to person. It is spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids of an ill person, not through casual contact.
"Although great progress has been made in fighting the outbreak in West Africa, we must remain vigilant. That is why the Government of Canada continues to work very closely with all partners in health, to ensure our country is as prepared as possible in the event a case of Ebola occurs in Canada. The precautionary screening measures, the Ebola Rapid Response Team's efforts across Canada, and investing in ZMapp™ Ebola treatment are all essential components of that preparedness."
Honourable Rona Ambrose,
Minister of Health
"Canada has some of the most skilled and experienced healthcare professionals in the world, and due to this we are well-placed to help fight the Ebola outbreak. I am proud of our partnership with the Canadian Red Cross and the work of our Agency staff to help fight Ebola in West Africa. Here at home, the border screening measures strike the proper balance between the health and safety of an individual returning from an Ebola affected region and the health and safety of all Canadians."
Dr. Gregory Taylor
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada
SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada
For further information: Contacts, 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