The Health Ministry is on alert in light of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recent declaration that the Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo is a public health emergency of international concern.
Pointing out that no case has ever been recorded in Trinidad and Tobago, the Ministry says officials still remain vigilant, especially at all ports of entry.
The Ministry says Ebola can spread by direct contact with bodily fluids from:
· A person who is sick or who has died of Ebola
· Objects like needles that have been in contact with the bodily fluids of a person sick with Ebola
It explains that direct contact means infected bodily fluids must get into your mouth, nose, eyes, breaks in your skin or through sexual contact.
Common symptoms of Ebola include:
· Fever · Headache
· Fatigue · Muscle Pain
· Vomiting · Diarrhoea
· Unexplained bleeding
The Ministry says symptoms appear between 2-21 days after exposure and people with Ebola cannot spread the virus until these appear.
As a result, it says persons can protect themselves from this disease by avoiding non-essential travel to countries where Ebola is widespread.
In the event that they do have to travel, the Ministry says they should:
· Avoid close contact with sick persons and corpses
· Avoid handling items that may have come into contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids
· Wash hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based sanitizer
It is advising anyone who has recently traveled to a country where Ebola is present and is exhibiting these symptoms to visit the nearest health facility immediately.
The Ministry says it already has existing standard operating procedures in relation to the surveillance and control of this virus from the 2014-2016 Ebola virus epidemic.
In light of that, it assures the population that the required resources are available in the event that a suspected case does arise.
The Ministry assures that it will keep the public updated as the matter develops and will continue to safeguard the health of the population.