TORONTO (TheBlaze/AP) — Canadian officials investigating a man suspected of having contracted Ebola during a visit to West Africa determined he does not have the deadly virus.
Cailin Rodgers, a spokeswoman for Canada's health minister, said Tuesday lab testing confirmed the individual hospitalized with symptoms of a hemorrhagic fever does not have Ebola, which has recently made headlines after an outbreak in Guinea. There are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Canada.
The man, however, remains seriously ill and is being kept in isolation in a Saskatchewan hospital as a precaution.
Dr. Denise Werker, Saskatchewan Province's deputy chief medical health officer, said Monday the man fell ill after returning from the West African nation of Liberia.
“People need to be in close contact with blood and bodily fluids and so that would be close household contacts of people who are taking care of these individuals," Werker said, according to the Globe and Mail.
Even if the ill man had Ebola, Werker said, "there is no risk to the general public at all about this.
In West Africa, health workers are trying to contain an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus which is believed to have killed at least 59 people in a remote forest region in the south of Guinea. In neighboring Liberia, health officials are investigating five deaths after a group of people crossed the border from Guinea in search of medical treatment.
Watch this report with the latest about the outbreak:
Werker said health workers caring for the man at a hospital in the city of Saskatoon were taking precautions by wearing masks, gowns, gloves and boots. She said hemorrhagic fevers are not easily spread.
Dr. Kent Sepkowtiz for the Daily Beast also said that contracting Ebola in the United States is unlikely.
"[…] Ebola and its related group of devastating infections will never become a threat to the US. The disease simply sickens and kills too quickly, plus anyone in the US with an odd febrile illness and rapid progression to prostration is placed into gown and glove isolation at just about every hospital in the country," Sepkowtiz wrote.
Hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola can be transmitted through direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person, or objects that have been contaminated with infected secretions. The Ebola virus leads to severe hemorrhagic fever and internal bleeding and has no vaccine or specific treatment.
"Viral hemorrhagic fever is a generic name for a number of rather exotic diseases that are found in Africa," Werker said. This class of diseases includes Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and yellow fever.