Fraser hospitals screening for ebola, will isolate any victims in Surrey

Several suspect cases ruled out so far, but officials think virus likely to arrive in B.C.

Technicians in West Africa handle ebola test samples in negative-pressure biological safety cabinets.

Fraser Health officials are confident they’ll be able to safely isolate any ebola patient that arrives in the region at Surrey Memorial Hospital and prevent any secondary spread of the disease ravaging West Africa.

Health care workers in the region have already intercepted a number of suspected ebola cases but then ruled them out following secondary screening, said Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin, Fraser’s executive medical director for infection prevention and control.

Those patients weren’t tested because it was determined from their answers to questions that they had not been to the specific areas where the virus is circulating.

“We obviously had no confirmed cases but we did have a number we had to evaluate,” Brodkin said. “Half a dozen perhaps so far. People come back to Canada from Africa every day. So it’s really inevitable that we’re going to see people who have been to that part of the world who have a fever.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall has also predicted B.C. may see a few cases of ebola arrive from Africa, similar to the first confirmed ebola case in the U.S. that was announced Tuesday in Texas.

“Given the size of the outbreak in west Africa and given how easily people travel  around the globe, it is certainly possible that we will see a real case at some point,” Brodkin added.

“The risk to British Columbians is extremely low. Even if a true case actually arrives I have every confidence that that case will be quickly isolated and managed in a way that means there would be no secondary spread or outbreak in British Columbia.”

All patients who arrive at Fraser hospital emergency departments with a fever are being asked about their travel history and they’re taken to isolation areas for further secondary questioning if they indicate they’ve been in west Africa in the last 21 days – ebola’s incubation period.

The virus can only be spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a patient who has symptoms.

Asked why Surrey Memorial was chosen as the potential regional ebola containment site, Brodkin said the new critical care tower there has state-of-the-art infection control.

“We can safely isolate any patient in a room in that tower and be able to provide care to them while at the same time protecting the health care workers who are looking after them and other patients who may be on the unit or in the tower.”

She said the ability to quickly diagnose cases and, in particular, to safely isolate them is what is missing in Africa, fueling the ebola outbreak there.

The deadly virus has killed more than 3,200 people in West Africa – close to half of those who contract it.

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

It’s election day in B.C. (Black Press files)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Sven Spichiger, Washington State Department of Agriculture managing entomologist, displays a canister of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a nest in a tree behind him Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. Workers with the state Agriculture Department spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Crews vacuum ‘murder hornets’ out of Washington nest, first-ever in U.S.

The nest found in the city of Blaine near the Canadian border is about the size of a basketball

Upgrades underway at the Sunnyside Reservoir, adjacent to Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest, raised concerns among some residents Tuesday (Oct. 20), however, stewards of the park say everything went off without a hitch. (Tracy Holmes photo)
‘No issue’ with South Surrey reservoir drainage, despite trail user concerns: urban forest steward

Forest visitor taken aback by ‘unprecedented flooding’ of trails

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

file
One dead after fiery crash near Agassiz

Agassiz RCMP report a 56-year-old man died Friday night

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Most Read