How Ready is Jamaica for An Ebola Outbreak?

Health authorities are warning Jamaicans not to travel to countries or regions where the deadly Ebola virus has been detected.

An outbreak of the disease has killed nearly 7-hundred people in West Africa, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria.

The epidemic has sparked fear across the world.

Concerns intensified this week after an American doctor, Patrick Sawyer, who contracted the disease in Liberia, reportedly traveled by airplane to four countries, before dying in the former Nigerian capital, Lagos.

Health officials in the United States and the United Kingdom are on high alert over increasing fears that the deadly Ebola virus could easily enter their countries through air passengers.

The Ebola epidemic of 2014 is said to be the worst outbreak on record.

The medical charity Doctors without Borders has described it as “out of control”, and warn that it will only get worse.

In Nigeria, health officials are trying to trace more than 30-thousand people who could be at risk, and has issued a “red alert” at all border crossings.

African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone, while the International Civil Aviation Authority has met with global health officials to discuss measures to prevent the disease from spreading via air traffic.

Jamaica’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kevin Harvey is advising Jamaicans not to travel to affected areas.

Ebola is spread through contact with blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person or animal.

Up to 90-percent of those who contract the disease die in less than three weeks of exhibiting symptoms.

The World Health Organization, WHO, describes it as one of the most virulent viral diseases known to mankind.

Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.

This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

There’s no known treatment or cure.

Dr. Harvey says Jamaica is taking the threat very seriously, and is consistently monitoring for any new disease entering Jamaica.

Dr. Harvey says if Ebola was detected in Jamaica, it would be treated as an outbreak.