- A health official says there is no risk to the general public
- The patient recently traveled from Liberia
- An Ebola outbreak in neighboring Guinea has killed at least 59 people
Health officials in Canada said Monday they are looking into the case of a man who recently traveled from Liberia and is exhibiting symptoms consistent with viral hemorrhagic fevers.
Viral hemorrhagic fevers is a generic term that refers to a number of diseases found in Africa, including Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and yellow fever, according to Denise Werker, deputy chief medical health officer at the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health.
"There is no risk to the general public at all about this incident. We recognize that there's going to be a fair amount of concern, and that's why we wanted to go public with this as soon as possible and dispel some of those myths that are out there," she told reporters Monday.
"We do not have information that it's Ebola hemorrhagic fever. All we know at this point is that we have a person who's critically ill who traveled from a country where these diseases occur," Werker said.
An Ebola outbreak has killed at least 59 people in Guinea, which borders Liberia in West Africa.
Werker said the Canadian patient is in an intensive care unit and isolated, meaning no visitors are allowed. Specimens have been sent for study, and officials are expecting preliminary results Tuesday, she said.
The hemorrhagic fevers are characterized by high fever and symptoms that may be nondescript. But at the end point of the disease, patients can have bleeding from their mouths or eyes, Werker said.
There is no drug treatment for Ebola hemorrhagic fever, she said, adding it is not a highly infectious disease.
"You have to be in close proximity to the person's secretions," Werker said. "The persons who are most at risk are person who are actually health care workers, who don't wear protective clothing."