African Ebola outbreak puts local officials on alert

| 04/08/2014

(CNS): Although few Caymanians and residents travel to and from West Africa, the Public Health Department says it is still on alert over the recent outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus in the area. With no borders for communicable diseases, Dr Kiran Kumar, the HSA's medical officer of health, said Cayman could not afford to be complacent. Although it poses an unlikely threat, he warned it was not impossible for a person infected in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone to arrive in the Cayman Islands. Seaport and airportstaff are aware of general protective measures and if they encounter passengers coming from these countries who appear ill, they will refer them to the hospital, where healthcare workers have been advised of the outbreak.

An individual infected with Ebola may arrive in the Cayman Islands with symptoms which began prior to departure or with symptoms that developed in transit or they may arrive before developing any symptoms.

Travellers to West African countries are advised to consult a physician should they develop symptoms while in these countries or on return, especially if they had come in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of Ebola viral disease.

Ebola is a rare but serious and often fatal viral infection that affects humans and animals such as monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees. It first appeared in Africa in 1976; since then it has spread to ten African Nations. Currently, there is an ongoing outbreak in West Africa, initially reported in March this year in Guinea and since late May has involved Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The mode of transmission is not clear but it is thought that humans become infected through contact with infected animals. When the infection does occur in humans, the virus can be transmitted to others by direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person and exposure to objects such as needles that have been contaminated with infected secretions. 

The virus that causes Ebola viral disease is often spread through family and friends because they come in close contact with infectious secretions when caring for sick persons. The disease can also spread quickly in health care settings when staff members do not wear appropriate protective equipment such as masks, gowns and gloves.

Symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite. In some cases, patients may experience a rash, red eyes, hiccups, cough, sore throat and chest pain along with difficulty in breathing and swallowing.

For more information on Ebola, a fact sheet can be collected from the Public Health Department or on the following websites:

Public Health England (including the outbreak and maps of affected area)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Center for Disease Control

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Comments (9)

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  1. Dr. Do Little - Too Late says:

    And I Quote: Although it poses an unlikely threat, he warned it was not impossible for a person infected in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone to arrive in the Cayman Islands. Seaport and airport staff are aware of general protective measures and if they encounter passengers coming from these countries who appear ill, they will refer them to the hospital, where healthcare workers have been advised of the outbreak! End Quote.

    So! We put the onus on the airport staff to decide which passengers "may" or "may-not" show symptoms of a disease which has few if any early outward indications. We're talking about "EBOLA" people!. Nothing seems to be taken seriously in Cayman.

    I say this because if the authorities were really thinking, knowing the potency of this viral disease, they would have an international alert given to all airlines and passenger ships traveling to the cayman islands, which says that any person traveling to the Cayman Islands from any country, must have on their person a health certificate certifying that they have been tested for this disease and are free of any symptoms thereof. That is how you 'may" prevent  this viral disease from reaching our shores!  

    DearGod, don't let this ebola thing come to our shores! 

     

    • Anonymous says:

      And if we put anyone in isolation foe ebola  we will be the laughing stock of the world again.

  2. Michel says:

    I am very happy that they are taking this seriously. Scares now in the U.S. and we have many visitors almost daily that come off the cruise. We our depending on your preparedness and making certain that this terrible Ebola does not reach our shore as it could spread very fast because so many come in contacts. Specially the staff at the retail stores in town. Please do your best to protect us and keep up the Awareness. God Bless, Michel

  3. Anonymous says:

    I know of  a high rankin police officer from Nigeria that is married in Cayman…..

    The government also has emplyee from Kenya in the Glass house……

     

    So there are africans here……..maybeput them on alert if they travel home?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, now everyone from Africa is a risk. What an idiot..

    • AnonymousM says:

      So Ebola is only for Africans ?! 

      You make it look like anywhere else is more safe. Try going to the United States, Atlanta Georgia. The people there are not Africans!

    • Anonymous says:

      more like you know a friend of a friend who once had a fax scam from one of them foreign places in the dark continent.

  4. Ya Right! says:

    last time we were placed on a tsunami alert the event occur 24 hours ago

  5. Anonymous says:

    I tell you what, my business is bleeding profusely out of various orifices.  Is that Ebola or the effect of the hikes in work permit fees and the costs of losing staff to permit refusals and the new PR policies?