A patient under care at Henderson
Hospital in Hamilton continues to improve as Health Canada confirms that
preliminary lab results are now ruling out the Ebola Virus. During Friday's
media briefing, Dr. Mark Loeb, infectious disease specialist at Hamilton
Health Science's Henderson Hospital, confirmed that the patient's condition
continues to improve. "Our patient is showing improvements and for the
caregivers in the hospital this is really good news," said Dr. Loeb.
"The public should not panic, viruses of the nature under investigation
require extreme close contact to the patient in order to be transmitted," said
Dr. Loeb. Dr. Loeb confirmed that 16 people within the hospital are being
monitored as contacts. A small fraction of those 16 are being monitored as
potential close contacts. All levels of health officials are continuing to
identify any new potential close contacts within the regional health system.
In order to be considered a close contact, individuals must come in
significant contact with bodily fluids, including blood, mucous or vomit from
the patient. Henderson health professionals continue an ongoing dialogue with
staff and community health authorities.
Meanwhile, Health Canada spokesman, Dr. D.W. MacPherson confirmed that
the Health Canada National Microbiology Laboratory tests did rule out Ebola.
While the preliminary Ebola tests were negative, testing continues for exotic
severe tropical infections (viral haemorrhagic fevers).
Dr. MacPherson was asked if this was a wake up call. He answered
emphatically, "This was not a wake up call...we were wide awake. The
clinicians and this hospital appropriately implemented the necessary measures
as soon as the severe nature of the illness was determined." Dr. MacPherson
commended hospital and public health authorities for the work they have
carried out to date.
The City of Hamilton's Social and Public Health Services Department
reconfirmed that the patient was not ill during travel and only became ill
after arriving in Hamilton. "Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers are spread by direct
contact with blood or bodily fluids from an ill patient," said Dr. Monir Taha,
Public Health Physician. "The travel period of the patient is therefore not a
risk situation for other travelers.
Social and Public Health Services is still working with two people in the
community that have been assessed as having high risk contact with the
patient. The department is continuing to follow-up to ensure that all
community contacts have been identified. As well, Dr. Taha confirmed that the
Social and Public Health Services Department has not identified any of the
City's Emergency Services workers who would fit into the high risk contact
category, but is continuing to investigate.