GREAT BAY – The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) continues to monitor developments in West Africa with respect to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak which has infected 8997 persons of which 4493 have died, according to the Center for Disease Control stats as of 15 October.
Persons traveling or who have recently visited Africa especially West Africa, should be cautious and take measures to protect their health. Persons should refrain from traveling to areas where EVD is prevalent in countries that are infected.
If a traveller becomes unwell with sudden onset of high fever, stomach pains, diarrhoea, rash or bleeding within three (3) weeks of being in any of the infected or affected areas (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone), or have had contact with in infected person, you need to make contact by phone to your doctor right away. You must also inform the doctor about your travel history prior to going to your physician. Limit your contact with others to avoid putting other persons at risk.
Ebola, formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. This EVD outbreak has a fatality rate of 54%. Early intervention is having a positive result on mortality as it used to be 90%.
Even though there are no WHO travel advisories, persons should also consider postponing travel to affected areas if it is non-essential.
Those who still decide to travel are advised to adopt the following necessary precautions: practice frequent hand washing (e.g. after going to the toilet, or when hands are soiled); avoid direct contact with blood, secretions or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animals, as well as environments that have become contaminated with these infectious fluids such as soiled clothing, bed linen, or used needles.
If you have to travel, stay on the alert as it relates to your traveling contacts and avoid putting yourself and family at risk.
Avoid participating in burial ceremonies which require direct contact with the body of a deceased infected person; avoid contact with wild animals, including bats, monkeys, apes, chimpanzee and gorillas, whether alive or dead, including their raw or undercooked meat.
The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour, namely the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), in collaboration with all stakeholders started informing the community on Ebola and are working on a Sint Maarten Preparedness Plan. All sectors are called to be alert as it related to their respective response to Ebola.
For further information you should consult with your family physician or call CPS at telephone number: 542-3553, 542-2078.