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Health sharing Ebola infection plans

Health sharing Ebola infection plans

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Health sharing Ebola infection plans

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Doctors are preparing for what they call the “incredibly unlikely” chance that Ebola reaches Jersey – and they say that they will keep the public informed if any suspected cases are identified.

Preparations have so far included preparing two isolation treatment rooms and identifying routes to them for any patients, and liaising with UK authorities about transferring them to specialist isolation centres as soon as possible. Signs are going up at the Airport and ports today warning anyone who has visited from west Africa to speak to doctors if they feel ill.

Almost 10,000 cases of Ebola have been reported in west Africa since the start of the year, and there have been almost 5,000 deaths from the disease. Isolated cases have been reported in Spain and the US, as people have travelled with the disease.

But doctors here are emphasising that Ebola is nothing like the flu pandemic two years ago – Ebola only passes from person-to-person via body fluid contact, and carriers only become infectious after the incubation period, which lasts up to 21 days. That means that unlike Flu, you can’t pass on Ebola before you start to feel ill, and you can’t pass it on without direct or indirect contact with body fluids.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Susan Turnbull said that staff at the Health department were being briefed, signs were going up at the Airport and ports, and more information was being placed on the www.gov.je website to keep people as informed as possible – but she emphasised that the risks in Jersey were slight.

She said: “My attitude to these kinds of things is that sharing knowledge, and making sure that everyone knows as much as I know is important. We want to reassure people that this is not something that is a risk to the wider community in the unlikely event that we end up using our carefully-honed procedures to deal with a suspected case.”

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