Visitor with gastroenteritis stirs up Ebola scare

| 27/10/2014

(CNS): A woman visiting Cayman from the USA is at the George Town hospital being treated for gastroenteritis and not Ebola after concerns that she may have been infected with the deadly virus. The woman had not travelled to Africa and had arrived in Cayman nine days ago directly from New York. The first patient in New York suffering with the virus, a doctor who had been working with patients in West Arica, tested positive for Ebola last Thursday and is being treated at the Bellevue hospital, NY. On Monday US health officials also confirmed that a 5-year-old boy who had just returned from West Africa to New York is being tested for Ebola after he was rushed to the same hospital with symptoms consistent with the virus.

It is not clear why the woman was suspected of having the disease but CNS understands that the possibility that she had Ebola had been conveyed via a 911 call. Government officials said that Emergency Medical Services were called to a house in East End early Monday for a female patient experiencing symptoms of fever, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weakness and sweating. EMS responders complied with protocol to pick up the patient and protect themselves.

“The measures we took were precautionary,” saidHealth Minister Osbourne Bodden. “We took every precaution in our response to this report. The symptoms did not mean that this individual had the Ebola virus. Those are symptoms that can be related to a number of things. We enacted the precautionary measures the government and the Health Services Authority have in place. Public safety is and will continue to be our primary goal.”

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) said Monday morning that the patient’s travel history did not meet the criteria to be indicative of Ebola as she had not travelled outside of New York before her arrival in Cayman some nine days ago.

While Ebola concerns have become an international issues, the Cayman Islands Government has a history of not only overseeing local precautions but the Public Health Department, on behalf of government, routinely communicates with international agencies such the Caribbean Public Health Agency, the Pan American Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Public Health England. Should the Ebola virus reach the Cayman Islands, these organisations have promised technical assistance with regards to the deployment of human resources and supplies.

The HSA also has two certified staff on board to deal with Ebola and is in the process of purchasing a field hospital and other necessary equipment as a precautionary measure should someone infected with the dangerous virus arrive in Cayman.

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  1. Dr. Do - Little - Too -Late says:

    Remember how we were told not to worry about the "chickun-gunya" because we were not traveling to any of the countries that had it at the time! Now it is in Jamaica and we are traveling to and from that country every day, with seemingly very little or no precautions in place, which has caused us to go from zero to more than 25 cases in just a few months. Remember the first advisory bulletin on the "ebola" virus? We were told that in the event someone should arrive on Island displaying any of the symptoms, the authorities at the airport would immediately call the HSA and someone would come to collect the suspect person to be taken to hospital!

    I sincerely hope "for the sake of those at the airport and those who wil be picking up that person that it will not a case of ebola. Because having seen the Haz-mat Suit worn by the HSA worker in an article on the front page of the Cayman Compass, [today Tuesday 28th Oct.] one has to wonder. That suit would never protect anyone from Ebola.

    I do believe they are trying their best, but lets us get it done with some urgency! There is no time for complacency! Check out the web-site below!


  2. Anonymous says:

    An 1 oz of prevention is worth a 1lb of cure……

    • Anonymous says:

      Think we should look at what has been budgeted here on the field hospital, haz mat suits, and everything associated with our "preparations" and send 1/16 ( an ounce out of the pound) of those funds to Africa in the form of a container of paper towels, or sheets, or porttable hot water heaters, or some generators, or whatever they need to actually deal with the threat on the ground. 

      Living conditions and sanitation along with lack of equipment is the cause of the spread in these few West African Countries. Cayman, Western Europe, and North America will quickly deal with the cases that arrive here and there will be limited spread. 

      The tragedy will be when areas like rural China, India, Haiti, and the war torn Middle East are affected. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    There is one crucial element missing from this story; there is no mention of a test to determine whether or not the patient has ebola. Apparently the decision that she was ebola free was based on the advice of  the  Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) that she did not meet the crireria simply because she did not travel outside New York immediately prior to travelling to Cayman.Are they saying that is the only possible way she could have contracted it?I am really skeptical of this approach.What if she had close personal contact in New York ,with someone infected with the virus.                                                    The minister stated that protocol was followed,but I believe it would be better if we were given a step by step report of exactly what was done.For example did that protocol include a test that would have confirmed or ruled out ebola.If not shouldn't the patient still be isolated from other patients.It would certainly be disastrous if the patient is confirmed as having ebola and has not been quarantined.We need to know that ebola was totally ruled out,otherwise that raises a lot of other questions such as ;were the residents of the home isolated ,was the residence itself quarantined,why was the patient taken to the emergency room at the main hospital and not some isolated unit,,was the patient admitted to the general ward with other patients,are the same staff attending to the patient allowed to have contact with other patients, how were the hazmat suits disposed of,was the ambulance sanitized per CDC protocol etc.                                                                  If the patient was tested and found to be ebola free ,then that's good ,but if not we may be making a serious misjudgement here with disastrous consequences.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Tourist lady watching too much Fox News.

  5. Anonymous says:

    First case of Fearbola in Cayman. More to come no doubt. 


    For the record, more people have been married to Kim Kardashisian than have contracted Ebola in the US. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    Why in the world was the word Ebola even thrown around in this instance?? Nothing but feeding the paranoia that some folks seem to possess.

    If someone has not been to West Africa nor in contact with bodily fluids of someone with Ebola……odds are, they DON’T have Ebola!!!! Fear mongering.

    • Anonymous says:

      13:23.You say If someone has not been to West Africa nor in contact with bodily fluids of someone with Ebola……odds are, they DON'T have Ebola!!! By extension if someone HAS been in contact with bodily fluids of someone with  Ebola,odds are they will get Ebola.Since we do not know if someone has been in such circumstances ,then Ebola cannot just be casually ruled out.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Are we now going to panic and lock up everyone with a common cold, the flu, the runs?

    • Anonymous says:

      They need practice. They should start with a propper attire. As someone had already mentioned,they  were not properly dressed in hazmat suites with a faceshield. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    There are so many business opportunitiies in that region there is no way that the authorities expect people to declare accurately where they have been.  The simple way to gain entry anywhere is to travel indirectly, use two passports (Liberia is the new Israel) and dose up on double flu medicines to ensure there are no sniffles when going through immigration points.

  9. Anonyanmous says:

    This was just a dry run, thank goodness we were prepared.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not so dry for the poor person involved. Guess they gave everyone the s**ts for a couple of days.

      Seriously, if everyone who gets a dose of the runs is treated this way (let's call it the 'Chicken Little' syndrome) the entire health service will collapse. We're coming into the time of year when norovirus starts to do the rounds – is everyone who gets that going to become an Ebola suspect?

      The only upside is at least it gave HSA a chance to play with some of their new toys 🙂


    • Anonymous says:

      Better still, wait until the winter flu virus and the common cold get a grip this winter. We'll be seeing over reacting, yellow suited 'officials' all over the place.

      I hope you can afford the enormous cost that's going to come with such blind panic.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Soooo, because she came from New York they were worried about Ebola….lmfao

  11. Gut check says:

    Glad that HSA and other services responded in a reasonable manner.  It could happen just like this.  There is no cause for panic, but we have to be prepared —- just like every other nation in the world.  

    We can't count on travelers/visitors to the Cayman Islands operating with our best interests at heart — we can hope that they do.    

    If you live in any of the African nations, Ebola might be the least of your concerns, as Malaria and other pathogens kill far more than Ebola.    If you are a small Caribbean nation, you need to remain vigilant, and I for one am glad that we are doing so.   

  12. Anonymous says:

    How can they rule this out so fast in less than a day?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hysterical. She Has not been to Africa.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because they are medical professionals, not headless chickens, unlike government and the doom mongers amongst us.

    • Anonymous says:

      She would have to have been in very close physical contact with someone who had symptomatic Ebola, and there were zero cases in New York until after she left.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The panic in the eyes of colleagues this morning as this rumour spread was not good. The biggest threat here is people panicking rather than listening to what the authorties have to say. I am glad for the lady concerned that is is not the dreaded E, and wish her a speedy recovery, and even if it was the dreaded E I would still be wishing her a speedy recovery. People need to read up on this, it is not something to panic about.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The woman was suspected to have the disease because people are morons.

    • Anonymous says:

      16:02.Glad that you are not responsible for our safety.Moron.

      • Chicken Little says:

        If every time someone with running tummy who has not been to an affected country and has not been in contact with an actual case is assumed to have ebola, then the health services in general and the ambulances in particular will be fully occupied 24/7, and  will have no time to deal with heart attacks, child birth, accidents etc.  You just don't get it, do you?

        Glad that you are not responsible for our safety. Moron.


  15. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for clearing up the viral rumour, and may the Good Lord protect us.