August 12, 2014
Risk of contracting Ebola virus in the Caribbean low at present

St Vincent and the Grenadines does not, at this time, fall into the category of high-risk countries for the transmission of the Ebola virus.{{more}}

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment said in a release issued yesterday that at a joint meeting of member countries of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) that was held on Friday, August 8, 2014, the Ministry was advised that there are as yet no reported cases in the region and that the risk, therefore, still remains low. However, Member States were requested to be on alert and to start preparedness activities.

Chair of the National Surveillance Committee Dr Rosmond Adams says that the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment has been keeping abreast of the developments with respect to the Ebola situation in West Africa, through reports issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and that the nation will be updated accordingly.

“Surveillance at our ports of entry is being intensified and we will continue with training and sensitization of our health care professionals, as part of measures to increase our vigilance and preparedness for this disease,” he said.

Ebola is a very serious illness, as evidenced by the rapid spread in West Africa and also the over 50 per cent death rate of infected persons, including many health care workers.

“The virus is severe and often fatal and is transmitted through direct contact with blood, for example through broken skin, other bodily fluids or secretion, such as stool, saliva, urine and semen of infected persons,” the release from the Ministry said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment has begun to collaborate with morgue and funeral home operators, as part of the Ministry’s Ebola preparedness and response strategy.

Ferosa Roache, focal point for Communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, says further that members of the various public health teams, particularly the public health inspectors, will be trained to visit all morgues and funeral homes, to work alongside them to implement the already crafted guidelines in this regard.

“This will be further formalized; but for now the guidelines are in place, and having reviewed them, in terms of the Ebola virus, they will provide the appropriate protection,” she explained.

The Ministry if Health,

Wellness and the Environment