Categorized | Health, Local, News, Regional

No Ebola in Caribbean by urges no complacency

Trinidad Express

By Michelle Loubon

ebola-virus122There have not been any cases of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Caribbean, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) executive director Dr James Hospedales said yesterday.

He made the statement during a news conference at CARPHA headquarters at Jamaica Boulevard, Federation Park, Port of Spain, where he was accompanied by Dr Babatunde Olowokure, director Surveillance Disease Prevention and Control.

Hospedales added that it was important to continue to monitor the situation.

CARPHA is responsible for providing strategic direction, analysing, defining and responding to public health priorities of Caricom, in order to prevent disease, promote health and respond to public health emergencies.

Giving an update on Ebola, Dr Hospedales said: “The current outbreaks of ebola are limited to West and Central Africa. The animals (monkeys, chimpanzees) which carry the disease are not found in the forests of the Caribbean islands and there have not been any cases of Ebola in the Caribbean.”

He said: “The overall risk assessment of ‘low risk’ for the Caribbean region remains unchanged at this time. Be that as it may be, this is not the time for complacency, because the consequence of an imported case, though unlikely, could be serious for both population health and the tourism industry in the Caribbean.”

Hospedales also said, “There is currently no vaccine to prevent the transmission of Ebola, but developmental work is ongoing and some trials in monkeys show promise, with protection from the virus being generated for months after vaccination. Prevention consists of avoiding all contact with potentially infectious bodily fluids, objects or surfaces”.

He said: “The virus, however, is not tough. It is easily inactivated by common disinfectants. Surfaces and reusable objects that have been contaminated with infectious bodily fluids may be cleaned by appropriate concentrations of diluted bleach to prevent transmission.”

CARPHA will continue to monitor the situation and advise its member states to continue their efforts to attain a level of preparedness.

Hospedales said, “The level of risk may change as new information becomes available.

Dr. Hospedales said Africa was “grappling with the largest outbreak in history” since the discovery of ebola.

He said: “There is an outbreak in western Africa affecting five countries including Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal to varying extents. This outbreak is the largest since the discovery of the Ebola virus in 1976, with 42,293 cases and 2, 296 deaths as at September 6, 2014. There is also an unrelated outbreak of a different strain of EVD in the Congo where 24 people have been affected and 13 have died, as at the last available update, on August 27.”

CMC reporting out of Trinidad adds the following reporting on the same press conference adds the following:

Dr Hospdales said that while the risk level remains low “it is important that each member state takes the opportunity to ensure that several mechanisms are in place to mitigate the potential impact of its arrival.”

He said these measures are included in the international health regulations (IAHR) that came into force in 2005 and include appropriate communication messages to be disseminated to the general population, to travelers and to health workers ensuring that people know how to reduce their risks.

“This is key, we will have other problems beyond Ebola in the future, achieving compliance with the international health regulations is the way to be able to be prepared,” he said.

Dr Hospedales said that while the Trinidad-based organization will not be able to carry out tests to determine whether a person had contracted the deadly virus, international arrangements have been made with the United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the Public Health agency in Canada for such testing.

He said CARPHA is also bolstering regional preparedness by establishing an incident management team here “to facilitate coordination of the regional response.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Trinidad Express

By Michelle Loubon

ebola-virus122There have not been any cases of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Caribbean, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) executive director Dr James Hospedales said yesterday.

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He made the statement during a news conference at CARPHA headquarters at Jamaica Boulevard, Federation Park, Port of Spain, where he was accompanied by Dr Babatunde Olowokure, director Surveillance Disease Prevention and Control.

Hospedales added that it was important to continue to monitor the situation.

CARPHA is responsible for providing strategic direction, analysing, defining and responding to public health priorities of Caricom, in order to prevent disease, promote health and respond to public health emergencies.

Giving an update on Ebola, Dr Hospedales said: “The current outbreaks of ebola are limited to West and Central Africa. The animals (monkeys, chimpanzees) which carry the disease are not found in the forests of the Caribbean islands and there have not been any cases of Ebola in the Caribbean.”

He said: “The overall risk assessment of ‘low risk’ for the Caribbean region remains unchanged at this time. Be that as it may be, this is not the time for complacency, because the consequence of an imported case, though unlikely, could be serious for both population health and the tourism industry in the Caribbean.”

Hospedales also said, “There is currently no vaccine to prevent the transmission of Ebola, but developmental work is ongoing and some trials in monkeys show promise, with protection from the virus being generated for months after vaccination. Prevention consists of avoiding all contact with potentially infectious bodily fluids, objects or surfaces”.

He said: “The virus, however, is not tough. It is easily inactivated by common disinfectants. Surfaces and reusable objects that have been contaminated with infectious bodily fluids may be cleaned by appropriate concentrations of diluted bleach to prevent transmission.”

CARPHA will continue to monitor the situation and advise its member states to continue their efforts to attain a level of preparedness.

Hospedales said, “The level of risk may change as new information becomes available.

Dr. Hospedales said Africa was “grappling with the largest outbreak in history” since the discovery of ebola.

He said: “There is an outbreak in western Africa affecting five countries including Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal to varying extents. This outbreak is the largest since the discovery of the Ebola virus in 1976, with 42,293 cases and 2, 296 deaths as at September 6, 2014. There is also an unrelated outbreak of a different strain of EVD in the Congo where 24 people have been affected and 13 have died, as at the last available update, on August 27.”

CMC reporting out of Trinidad adds the following reporting on the same press conference adds the following:

Dr Hospdales said that while the risk level remains low “it is important that each member state takes the opportunity to ensure that several mechanisms are in place to mitigate the potential impact of its arrival.”

He said these measures are included in the international health regulations (IAHR) that came into force in 2005 and include appropriate communication messages to be disseminated to the general population, to travelers and to health workers ensuring that people know how to reduce their risks.

“This is key, we will have other problems beyond Ebola in the future, achieving compliance with the international health regulations is the way to be able to be prepared,” he said.

Dr Hospedales said that while the Trinidad-based organization will not be able to carry out tests to determine whether a person had contracted the deadly virus, international arrangements have been made with the United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the Public Health agency in Canada for such testing.

He said CARPHA is also bolstering regional preparedness by establishing an incident management team here “to facilitate coordination of the regional response.