JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Health is dispelling rumours of a suspected case of the deadly Ebola virus in the island.
  • Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Kevin Harvey, said no suspected case of the disease is being investigated.
  • The rumours started when a doctor, who had recently returned to the island from Trinidad and Tobago, was admitted to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) yesterday (Sept. 25), with a reported case of bleeding.

The Ministry of Health is dispelling rumours of a suspected case of the deadly Ebola virus in the island.

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Kevin Harvey, said no suspected case of the disease is being investigated.

“We are not investigating a suspected case and we have no reason to consider that anyone in the country at this time is suspected of having Ebola,” he said.

The rumours started when a doctor, who had recently returned to the island from Trinidad and Tobago, was admitted to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) yesterday (Sept. 25), with a reported case of bleeding.

Speaking to journalists today (Sept. 26), Dr. Harvey said the 65-year old senior physician has fully recovered and “there is no consideration of a diagnosis of Ebola.”

“He has been comprehensively investigated by our medical team, has recovered, has had investigations including a computerised tomography (CT) scan, which shows that the person had a fracture to the skull due to a fall, which resulted in the bleeding,” he informed.

He noted further that the doctor had not travelled to any Ebola-affected country and there was no possibility of contact with any infected person.

At the time that the doctor was admitted to UHWI, an Ebola planning meeting and training for medical officers was underway at the facility, and this, Dr. Harvey surmised, may have led to the rumours. “So, maybe that is what heightened the suspicion yesterday,” he said.

Dr. Harvey, in the meantime, said sensitisation briefings have been undertaken for all senior members of the island’s medical teams as well as discussions and joint meetings with other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, and partners, such as the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).

 

He further informed that there is a surveillance system in place to identify and isolate persons should the need arise.

Dr. Harvey informed that apart from a specially built isolation facility in Kingston, all the major hospitals in the island have identified isolation spaces.

He further noted that the Ministry will be heightening its sensitisation programme to inform Jamaicans about the disease.

The Acting Permanent Secretary is, however, reminding Jamaicans to avoid nonessential travel to countries where the virus has been confirmed. These include: Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ebola is a rare and deadly disease, which is caused by infection with one of the Ebola viruses.

It is spread by direct contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids and may also spread by contact with contaminated objects or infected animals.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Ebola, and up to 50 per cent of persons, who get the disease, die.

Symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pain. Skin rash, red eyes, and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients.