GATINEAU: Child returned from Sierra Leone tested for Ebola
A young child from Gatineau who recently returned from Sierra Leone was being tested for the Ebola virus, according to Santé Outaouais.
She was being assessed in isolation Friday at a hospital in Gatineau while public health officials investigated the case.
Karelle Kennedy, a spokesperson for the Outaouais region’s public health authority, confirmed the child had developed a fever and was isolated Friday morning as a precaution. Test results were expected to come back by Saturday afternoon.
The girl was not believed to have been exposed to any health institutions or to anyone suffering from Ebola while in Sierra Leone.
“The chances that the test will be positive are extremely low,” said Kennedy.
Public health officials would not confirm which hospital the child was in, but the said there was no risk to medical staff.
“The child is still under observation and we are very cautious,” Kennedy said.
Ottawa public health officials confirmed that they were aware of the case but couldn’t speak to any specific details.
In West Africa, more than 1,500 people have died this year as a result of an outbreak of the Ebola virus. It is primarily affecting Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city.
If testing at Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory confirms the child is suffering from the virus, it would be the first confirmed case in Canada.
Dr. Rosamund Lewis, an associate medical officer of health with Ottawa Public Health, said Ottawa and Gatineau’s public health authorities are working closely to ensure the region is well set up should an Ebola case present itself.
“The city is prepared. The hospitals are prepared,” she said. The risk to public health is “exceedingly low, vanishingly low,” she said.