1. Prevention of Virus Entry into the Federation
a. No entry” for residents of worst affected areas including a 21-day period for all travellers.
b. Immigration is linked into a global tracking network. The identity and origin of all travellers are known well before touchdown.
2. Rapid Containment/Isolation/Quarantine – In the unlikely event of the first Ebola case or contact, that person will be an air traveller whose identity will be readily known.
a. Aircraft crew always make a declaration of the condition of passengers. Declaration is inspected by Port Health Unit before the “All Clear” given to disembark. Retrofitting of airport Isolation & Quarantine units in progress.
b. The MOH has a Rapid Response Team (RRT) on standby in all health districts.
c. The MOH will also request the assistance of regional and international health agencies.
3. Treatment – In the unlikely event of a case of Ebola, the affected person will be isolated and treated in a specially designated area.
a. Both hospitals have isolation units and all of the essential supplies (IV Fluids, Blood, Oxygen and, if warranted, Antibiotics).
b. A final decision is pending regarding the location of a permanent all-hazard unit.
c. All lab, infection control and decontamination procedures are known and will be followed.
N.B. The anticipated total number of cases is 1 – 2 affected persons.
4. Protection of Health Care Workers (HCW)
a. Use of approved Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
b. Training in donning and doffing has commenced.
5. Public Communication
a. Started in mid-August, immediately after WHO declared Ebola a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
b. Informational material, such as brochures, will shortly be available in Health Centers and other areas, and on government information websites.
c. Authoritative information is also readily available from the websites of WHO, PAHO and CARPHA. Background Information § In General.
1. There have been 23 outbreaks since 1976 – all contained. The current outbreak is expected to be contained before the end of 2015. Containment already achieved in Nigeria and Senegal.
2. Ebola is not an automatic death sentence. The survival rate in Nigeria was 60%. In other places up to 80% of affected persons recover.
3. Ebola thrives where there is poor personal hygiene and sanitation, and where the public health system is weak or non-existent.
How is Ebola Spread?
4. Ebola is very difficult to spread (the Flu, Chikungunya and Dengue are easier to spread than Ebola).
5. Requires direct contact with the blood and other body fluids of infected persons and animals
6. Spread does not occur via food, water, insects, and rodents.
7. The virus enters the human body through broken skin (e.g. cuts, scratches, bruises) and mucous membranes such as the lining of the eyes and vagina (just like HIV).
8. The Incubation Period i.e. the time between virus entry and symptoms is up to 21 days, average 8 – 10 days. An infected person is not contagious during this period.
9. A person becomes contagious only when symptoms start. Typical symptoms are Fever, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Difficulty Breathing and Bleeding.
Persons At Risk for Exposure to Ebola?
10. Persons taking care of the sick e.g. family members and health care workers.
11. Persons having direct contact with the dead bodies of infected humans and animals. Animals in the Caribbean are not carriers of Ebola.
12. Persons having sexual intercourse with a man recovering from the infection for up to 7 weeks.
Persons Not At Risk for Exposure to Ebola
13. Persons not taking care of the sick.
14. Persons not handling blood or other body fluids.
15. Persons not having close contact with dead bodies of infected humans and animals
16. Persons not having sexual intercourse with a man recovering from the infection for up to 7 weeks.
Prevention against Exposure in Risk Settings
17. Exposure is avoided through the proper use of approved Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
18. A person with symptoms and a history of recent (21 days) travel to an Ebola-affected country, or recent contact with an infected person or animal, is Ebola-positive until proven otherwise. Such a person will be immediately isolated and treated.
19. There is no medicinal cure. Treatment is designed to support the body to enable it to destroy the virus.
20. Essential treatment supplies include IV Fluids, Oxygen, Blood, and if there is a secondary bacterial infection, Antibiotics. Hospitals in the Federation have adequate stocks.
21. There is no vaccine at this time. However, vaccine trials have commenced.
22. Tests are done in designated labs only i.e. those categorized as Biosafety Level (BSL) 4. There are no BSL 4 labs in the Caribbean. The CARPHA lab is BSL 3.
23. Specimens will be sent via designated courier (to be determined) to BSL 4 labs at either the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or Public Health Agency of Canada.