Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says Jamaica does not, at this time, fall into the category of high risk countries for transmission of the Ebola Virus.
At a press briefing, held at the Ministry’s Downtown Kingston offices, today (Aug 7), Dr. Ferguson informed that the Ministry has been keeping abreast of the developments with respect to the Ebola situation in West Africa, through reports issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Surveillance at our points of entry is already in place and we will be continuing with training and sensitisation of our health workers, as part of measures to increase our vigilance and preparedness for this disease,” he said.
The Minister pointed out that the capacity of the country’s laboratory will be crucial in the event that the country needs to test for Ebola.
“I would like to assure that we continue to enjoy the support of the University of the West Indies Virology Lab, the United States Centres for Disease and Control and Prevention and the Caribbean Public Health Agency, for testing if needed,” he said.
The Minister noted that Ebola is a very serious illness as evidenced by the rapid spread in West Africa and the over 50% death rate of infected persons, including many health care workers.
Dr Ferguson said the virus is severe and often fatal and 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.
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