Canadian Officials Testing Ontario Patient for Possible Ebola

Aug 09, 2014 12:40 pm ET

Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) -- A Canadian patient who recently traveled to Africa is being tested outside of Toronto after demonstrating flu-like symptoms consistent with an Ebola infection, health officials said yesterday.

The patient had traveled to Nigeria and is being held in isolation at the William Osler Health System’s Brampton Civic Hospital, about 30 miles west of Toronto, to confirm the diagnosis, the hospital said in a statement. No further details on the patient were immediately available.

The World Health Organization yesterday declared the outbreak of Ebola in western Africa to be an international health emergency. The current outbreak began in Guinea in December and has spread through Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, the UN agency said.

The outbreak has killed 961 people since it was first reported, with 68 new cases reported over two days, the World Health Organization said yesterday.

Ontario’s chief medical officer said in a statement late yesterday that the testing and isolation of the Ontario patient was a precautionary measure and that the symptoms are similar to other more common diseases, including malaria. The patient’s symptoms include fever, headache and malaise.

“Ontario’s health care system is prepared to respond should an individual arrive with symptoms that could suggest a disease, such as Ebola. To date, there are no confirmed cases in Ontario and the risk to Ontarians remains very low,” Dr. Graham Pollett, Ontario’s interim chief medical officer of health, said in a statement.

“Given the current outbreak of Ebola in Western Africa, it is expected that health care providers will consider Ebola as one of the diseases to rule out for persons who have recently traveled to one of the affected African countries,” he added.