Preliminary tests on health-care worker in Interior negative for Ebola virus disease
The Ministry of Health and Interior Health are confirming that preliminary testing on a health-care worker returning from West Africa has come back negative for Ebola virus disease (EVD).
“It’s not looking like Ebola at all, but because of her history in working in an Ebola-infected country with patients with Ebola, we need to be abundantly cautious,” said deputy provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Tuesday.
Health officials believe this is a case of the flu or a similar influenza that is currently circulating widely in the community.
However, given travel and work history, public health is following all the standard precautionary procedures, to ensure that they do not have Ebola.
The woman, whose name has not been disclosed, returned from helping Ebola patients in Sierra Leone on Dec. 25.
On Sunday evening, the patient began to experience mild influenza-like illness, and reported those symptoms to the medical health officer.
Working with provincial public health specialists, and out of an abundance of caution, Interior Health asked the patient to come into Kelowna General Hospital to get tested.
While there, the patient is being cared for in an isolation room, away from other patients or staff.
“While I’m feeling like I just have cold symptoms, I completely understand and respect the meticulous attention to Ebola management protocols, considering my recent work in Sierra Leone,” the health-care worker said in a statement.
“My biggest concern is that the publicity given to my situation here in B.C. right now might deflect attention from the real issue, which is the plight of the people in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.”
Additional testing will take place over the next day or two to confirm results of early testing. The patient will remain in isolation in hospital during this time.
The risk to the public remains extremely low. Health-care workers at Kelowna General Hospital have been trained on Ebola protocols and procedures, and the facility is fully prepared to manage this patient.