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Mt Hope, Caura to take any Ebola cases

Wednesday, August 13 2014

THE Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC), Mt Hope and the Caura Hospital, Caura, have been “mandated to provide clinical services (and) quarantine” respectively if anyone with Ebola does enter Trinidad and Tobago.

The announcement was made yesterday afternoon by Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Colin Furlonge during an Ebola awareness press conference at the National Operation Centre (NOC), Knowsley, Port-of-Spain.

“We’ve identified a 12-bedded area at EWMSC which will be used to triage suspected cases and we have identified two 24- bedded wards at Caura Hospital, which we will utilise if it is necessary at all, if we have to quarantine anyone,” Furlonge stated.

The Ministry of Health has also identified three rooms in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at EWMSC that would be capable of “providing isolation and care.”

Furlonge also told reporters the ministry will be using newspaper advertisements as well as television and radio interviews with health officials to “inform the public” about the latest developments in the fight to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, signs and symptoms of this deadly virus and where treatment would be available, if needed, here in TT.

The CMO noted that “one of the critical issues with Ebola is that it is non-specific and may look like any other viral infection that we have in Trinidad... So we have to be aware and try our best to allay the public’s fears and provide clinical care.”

According to information on the WebMD.com site, Ebola is a rare but deadly virus that causes bleeding inside and outside the body. As the virus spreads through the body, it damages the immune system and organs. Ultimately, it causes levels of blood-clotting cells to drop. This leads to severe, uncontrollable bleeding.

The disease, also known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever or Ebola virus, kills up to 90 percent of people who are infected. To date, serious Ebola cases have only shown up in Central and West Africa.

Humans can contract the viruses from infected animals after which it can spread from person to person through contact with body fluids or contaminated needles.

Acting National Security Minister Clifton De Coteau spoke of the importance of providing accurate, timely updates to the nation in order to avoid panic.

“It is too easy for people hearing about this thing, not having the information at their finger tips and to speculate. You know a fertile imagination could really have some tremendous negative impact.”

Border security at the nation’s airports was addressed yesterday by director general of the Civil Aviation Authority, Ramesh Lutchmedial.

“If there is a passenger travelling on board an aircraft and that passenger exhibits symptoms of a communicable disease, then the pilot will, by way of radio, contact the Air Traffic Control Centre and we would immediately communicate with the Airports Authority and all the other agencies so we can have a response planned for that passenger when he/she arrives.

We would also contact the airport from which the plane departed,” Lutchmedial stated.

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