Reports of people evacuating the Gold Coast and even pulling their kids out of school have prompted health authorities to issue a warning to keep calm.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young has called for calm after a 27 year old man was taken to the Gold Coast University Hospital with suspected Ebola virus disease (EVD).
Dr Young said Queensland Health had heard concerning reports of unnecessary hype and fear circulating in the community.Reports on social media and calls to 13 HEALTH suggest people were cancelling holidays to Queensland, checking out of their Gold Coast accommodation early, and even pulling their children out of school.
“The community needs to know that there is an extremely low risk of contracting Ebola, regardless of whether this man’s test results come back positive or negative later this evening,” Dr Young said.
“Ebola virus disease is not a highly contagious disease like the ‘flu or a cold; it requires direct exposure to an infected person’s bodily fluids such as blood, vomit or faeces, during the time they are infectious. Importantly, this patient doesn’t have a fever which is one of the first signs of Ebola virus infection, so it is very unlikely that he has Ebola virus from his history of where he’s been and also his symptoms.
“So there is absolutely no need for people to panic for any reason.”
Dr Young said Queensland along with other states and territories had worked closely with the Commonwealth in preparing State and National plans to manage suspected Ebola virus disease cases, which were implemented successfully in this case.
“The response by paramedics and hospital staff was excellent; they wore appropriate personal protective equipment,” Dr Young said. “Gold Coast University Hospital immediately isolated him in a single negative pressure room, and he’s remaining there at the moment, so I think everything’s been done appropriately.
“It is a credit to them for how well it was handled.”
Dr Young said preliminary contact information was being collected in the unlikely event the test results, which are not expected back until later this evening, were positive for Ebola virus disease.
UPDATE: Tests confirm all clear for patient with suspected Ebola virus Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young has tonight confirmed tests taken from a Gold Coast man suspected of having Ebola virus disease have returned a negative result.
It follows comments from doctors earlier in the day that the patient was exceedingly unlikely to have the disease based on his symptoms and the areas in Africa in which he travelled to.
“I would like to thank all health and ambulance staff involved in the management of this patient; it was a job well done and serves to show the community that our emergency preparedness plans are sound, and that they can rely on their health services,” Dr Young said. “I also thank the media for helping to allay the fears and hype in the community – it was a very important message for us to convey.”
Dr Young said while it was highly unlikely Ebola virus disease would come to Queensland,anyone who has travelled to parts of West Africa affected by the outbreak and who are concerned about their health, should visit their GP.