Canada has imposed new Ebola screening measures for travellers from western African nations at the heart of the outbreak, in an effort to better detect any cases of the disease entering the country.
The new public health measures, which took effect Monday, will require travellers with a travel history to Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia within the last 21 days to report to a local public health authority in Canada and self-monitor for up to three weeks, said a statement from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The agency said travellers without symptoms of the disease will be assessed based on whether or not they have had contact with an Ebola patient and deemed either low- or high-risk. Travellers deemed low-risk will be ordered to report to a public health authority within 24 hours and self-monitor daily for 21 days (including a temperature check twice daily), as well as immediately reporting any Ebola symptoms or planned travel. Those travellers in the high-risk category will be required to report to a local public health authority and then self-isolate at home or at a facility for 21 days (and are recommended to stay in proximity to a provincially designated treatment centre), with daily monitoring for symptoms of infection.
Travellers with a history of travel to an Ebola-affected country who are presenting symptoms will be immediately isolated and sent to hospital for a medical examination. A quarantine officer will coordinate patient transfers with provincial and local public health authorities. If the traveller is released from hospital by local health authorities, he or she will still be required to follow up and self-monitor based on their possible exposure to Ebola.
To enhance the healthcare system’s ability to detect and appropriately manage any cases of Ebola that may arrive in Canada, provincial authorities have designated more than 30 treatment centres that are prepared to deal with a patient with Ebola.