JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Health will continue its daily monitoring of the Ebola situation in West Africa through the World Health Organization’s Event Information website.
  • While Jamaica does not at this time fall into the category of at risk countries, “we continue to ensure that our systems are strengthened so that we can have an effective response if the need arises."
  • Public education is also an important feature of the Ministry’s strategy and stressed that there has been no change in the position of the Ministry as it relates to facilitating interviews.

The Ministry of Health will continue its daily monitoring of the Ebola situation in West Africa through the World Health Organization’s Event Information website. This along with other measures to increase the country’s vigilance and preparedness was discussed during a meeting on Thursday (July 31, 2014) involving Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson and International Health Regulations (IHR) Focal Point and Director, Emergency, Disaster Management and Special Services, Dr. Marion Bullock DuCasse.

Dr. DuCasse explained that while Jamaica does not at this time fall into the category of at risk countries, “we continue to ensure that our systems are strengthened so that we can have an effective response if the need arises. Our surveillance system has already been heightened, we will be sensitizing staff and undertaking training specific to the Ebola virus and continue with our monitoring of the situation.”

She said public education is also an important feature of the Ministry’s strategy and stressed that there has been no change in the position of the Ministry as it relates to facilitating interviews and providing information through the media about any health related matter.

“As part of our communication plan, we will continue to partner with the media through interviews and other methods of disseminating information so that the public is kept informed and understand their part of the responsibility to deal with these types of diseases,” she said.

The Ebola virus is a severe, often fatal illness with a death rate of up to 90%. It is transmitted through direct contact with blood (for example through broken skin), other bodily fluids or secretion such as stool, saliva, urine and semen of infected persons. Infection can also occur if broken skin comes in contact with environments that have become contaminated with an Ebola patient’s infectious fluids such as soiled clothing, bed linen or used needles.

Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This may be followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function and in some cases both internal and external bleeding.