News Release Article from  Public Health Agency of Canada

Archived - Government of Canada announces a second mobile lab and team to be deployed to West Africa to assist in the Ebola outbreak

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October 4, 2014 - Ottawa, ON - Public Health Agency of Canada

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, with Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Gregory Taylor, announced the deployment of a second mobile lab team to West Africa.

Today, the Public Health Agency of Canada deployed a second mobile laboratory and two additional Agency scientists to Sierra Leone to join the Agency's existing team in the field in Kailahun. A third scientist will leave on Tuesday.

One mobile lab team will continue to provide rapid diagnostic support to help local healthcare workers to quickly diagnose Ebola. The second mobile lab team will work with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to monitor the effectiveness of infection prevention procedures such as handwashing stations, face masks and disposal sites to prevent the further spread of Ebola.

On-site laboratory support that produces results in only a few hours is pivotal in responding effectively to an outbreak of Ebola, as it allows for faster isolation of Ebola cases and patient care.

In addition, at the recent meeting of federal-provincial-territorial health ministers in Banff, Alberta, all Ministers endorsed the Multi-lateral Information Sharing Agreement (MLISA), which improves our ability to deal with urgent public health events like Ebola and plan for the health and safety of Canadians by allowing the timely sharing of public health information across jurisdictions.

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada has provided laboratory support to this Ebola outbreak since June 2014.
  • The total Agency scientists in the field will end up being a total of four, two for each lab, on a regular rotation.
  • The Agency's Dr. Gary Kobinger is currently in the Democratic Republic of Congo to provide guidance and support to help control their Ebola outbreak.
  • There has never been a case of Ebola in Canada and the risk to Canadians remains low.
  • The Ebola virus does not spread easily from person to person. It's spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids, not through casual contact.
  • The Government of Canada has a number of systems in place in Canada to identify and prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases like Ebola, including continually monitoring and tracking infectious diseases across Canada and administering the Quarantine Act at all points of entry into Canada, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
  • The Government of Canada has also donated 800 - 1,000 vials of its experimental Ebola vaccine, as well as personal protective equipment.
  • Any Canadians travelling abroad are encouraged to consult the Travel Health Notices on the Ebola outbreak.

Quotes

"Canada is well prepared with a number of systems in place to identify and prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases like Ebola, here at home.  Our Government will continue to ensure Canadians are protected and safe and that we continue to assist in this devastating outbreak.  Canadians can be proud of the efforts we are doing to help fight this outbreak.  Today's announcement of a second mobile lab and team is another example of actions we are taking."
Honourable Rona Ambrose,

Minister of Health

"Infectious diseases do not respect borders. This mobile laboratory team will provide pivotal surge capacity to our existing team in the field and help our international partners stop the spread of this deadly disease."
Dr. Gregory Taylor

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

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Photo

Caption: An example of a mobile laboratory used by Public Health Agency of Canada scientists in the field in the Ebola outbreak response.

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Contacts

Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
613-957-2983


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