Ebola virus disease

What is Ebola? 
Are Canadians at risk of contracting Ebola?
I have arrived recently from one of the affected countries- what should I do?
I have arrived recently from one of the affected areas and am feeling unwell - what should I do?  
What are the symptoms of Ebola infection?
Is there treatment for Ebola?
How can Ebola be prevented?
What is the role of Ottawa Public Health?
What is Canada doing?
What hospitals in Ottawa assess and treat patients for Ebola?
Travel Information 

What is Ebola Virus Disease?

Ebola Virus Disease (Ebola) is a rare disease that causes fever in humans and some animals. In its late stages, this serious viral infection can cause internal and external bleeding which can lead to death.

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Are Canadians at risk of contracting Ebola?

West Africa is experiencing a serious outbreak of Ebola, currently in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. There has been confirmed case of Ebola in other countries, including three in the United States. The public health risk to Canadians from Ebola is low as the Ebola virus does not spread easily from person to person. It is spread primarily by direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is infected with Ebola, not through casual contact.

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I have arrived recently from one of the affected countries - what should I do?  

Ottawa Public Health is notified by Public Health Ontario of any traveller who is returning to, or visiting, Canada from an Ebola affected country. All travellers from an Ebola affected country are screened by a Public Health Agency of Canada Quarantine Officer upon entry into Canada regarding their travel history and undergo a mandatory health assessment, which includes a temperature check. Travellers to Ontario from an Ebola affected country will be given an Order under the federal Quarantine Act to report to their local public health unit within 24 hours. If you have been given an Order to report to Ottawa Public Health:

  • Call 613-580-6744 ext. 24224 during regular business hours, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. OR call the number already provided to you by the Quarantine Officer OR if after regular business hours, call 3-1-1 and ask to speak to  Ottawa Public Health
  • A Public Health Nurse will assess your level of risk for infection and provide you with instructions concerning your activities during the 21-day monitoring period

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I have arrived recently from one of the affected areas and am feeling unwell - what should I do?

  • If you become ill with a fever and/or if you experience any other symptoms after travelling to countries with declared Ebola outbreaks, call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744.
    • Inform them of your symptoms and your recent travel history, and the travel history of those with whom you have been in close contact.
    • Do not take public transportation if you must seek medical attention

If you require urgent care, call 911.

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What are the symptoms of Ebola infection?

  • Symptoms of Ebola infection begin within two to 21 days after exposure.
  • Initial symptoms of Ebola include sudden onset fever (≥38°C), muscle pain, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, and chest pain.
  • Signs more specific to Ebola that may present later in some patients can include pink eyes, rash, and both internal and external bleeding. 

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Is there treatment for Ebola?

At this time there is no vaccine or specific treatment for Ebola. Severely ill patients require supportive treatment or hospitalization.

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How can Ebola be prevented?

To prevent the spread of Ebola, it is recommended to:

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What is the role of Ottawa Public Health?

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) nurses are available to answer questions, assess risk of exposure in returning travellers from the Ebola affected area and make recommendations for follow-up such as self-monitoring of symptoms.

OPH is working closely with hospitals and health care providers in the community to ensure timely assessment, management and follow up of returning travellers who become ill. OPH is also coordinating with hospitals and health care partners to provide information to the public regarding the Ebola virus and any associated health risks to the community. 

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What is Canada doing?

There have been no known reported cases of Ebola in Canada.

In Ontario, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, along with the interim Chief Medical Officer of Health, are taking action to enhance the province's readiness to contain and treat any potential case of Ebola in the province.

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What hospitals in Ottawa assess and treat patients for Ebola?

For the Ottawa area, the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario and The Ottawa Hospital – General Campus have been designated as the referral hospitals to treat potential cases of Ebola in Ottawa.  Additional measures undertaken by the provincial government are outlined in a news release and a backgrounder issued October 17.

Public Health Ontario and PHAC provide guidance to health care professionals to ensure that proper guidelines are in place to help prevent the virus from spreading.

PHAC continually monitors many infectious diseases and emerging infectious diseases in Canada. The agency works with provincial and national governments, and international partners including the World Health Organization.

National and provincial authorities continue to monitor the Ebola situation overseas. They have provided guidelines for health care providers in Ontario should an ill patient report they have travelled to a country where an Ebola outbreak has been declared.

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Travel Information

For information regarding travel notices or restrictions please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada Travel Health Notices.

For further information on Ebola, call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 to speak to a Public Health Nurse, or visit the following websites:

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