FILE - In this undated file image by the CDC shows an ebola Virus. U.S. health officials on Thursday

Canadian agency upgrades travel warning

Public health agency urges Canadians to stay away from Ebola-affected countries

  • Aug. 1, 2014 8:00 a.m.

By The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – Health officials are telling Canadians to avoid travel to three African countries hit hard by an outbreak of Ebola virus.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says the recommendation that Canadians avoid all non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is in line with an advisory issued by the United States.

The agency had said Thursday there was no need for a travel warning, based on information from the World Health Organization (WHO).

But it has upgraded its travel health notice, saying Canadians can help health officials control the outbreak in the affected countries by staying away.

The health agency says while the risk of contracting the illness remains low, travellers could find it hard to access health care services if they get sick, and could also be exposed to the virus while seeking medical care.

A statement from Health Minister Rona Ambrose and Lynne Yelich, minister of state for foreign and consular affairs, said the travel recommendation is meant to protect Canadian travellers and allow health officials in the affected countries to focus their resources on responding to the Ebola outbreak.

“The government is closely monitoring the situation and is in close contact with our missions responsible for the affected regions,” the statement said.

“Canada and its international partners are working around the clock to provide support to the affected regions.”

The statement said Canada has committed $1.41 million to date, and is providing Public Health Agency of Canada experts and a mobile lab in Sierra Leone to the Ebola fight.

It said there are no confirmed Ebola cases in Canada.

The World Health Organization says that, as of Thursday, 729 people have died as a result of the outbreak.

Just over 1,300 people are known to have been infected since February. In response, the WHO has launched a $100-million plan to combat the outbreak.

WHO Director General Margaret Chan was to meet today with the presidents of affected countries in Guinea. Nigeria has also reported one death due to Ebola, in a person who had travelled ill from Liberia.

Ebola virus is a rare and severe disease which can infect both humans and non-human primates. The virus is contagious and is spread by direct contact with blood or bodily fluids from a sick person.

Symptoms of the illness include fever, intense weakness, headache, sore throat and pains, and could involve bleeding from different parts of the body.

The current outbreak is the largest since the disease first emerged in Africa nearly 40 years ago.

The health conditions of two American aid workers who contracted Ebola while helping fight the outbreak have worsened, two relief organizations said on Thursday.

Missionary Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly are listed in “stable but grave condition” in Liberia, according to relief groups Samaritan’s Purse and Serving In Mission, both based in North Carolina.

Writebol and Brantly were part of a team from the two agencies that was working in Monrovia, Liberia.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: West Shore students rally for 10,000 Tonight food drive

Students, community members gather, sort food donations

Saanich seeks contractors for Shelbourne Street upgrade project

The three-phase project is expected to begin in 2020

Saanich allows retail sale of recreational cannabis for specific zones

Amendments to the 2003 bylaw allows retail sale of recreational cannabis in Saanich

Brotherston sentenced to three years in prison for Sooke home invasion

Home invasion took place on Feb. 9 and left one man with face and head injuries

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Dec. 10

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

The lights are up, holiday shoppers are bustling through the streets and… Continue reading

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

One man dead after car crash in Nanaimo

One person died, another was injured in the accident which happened Wednesday on Nanaimo Lakes Road

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

Most Read