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Guyana monitoring sick woman for Ebola although disease discounted

President Donald Ramotar, Cabinet Sector Ministers and other officials meeting to discuss Guyana’s preparedness for dealing with any possible Ebola cases.

Guyanese health authorities are monitoring a sick woman for Ebola after she was referred to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) because she told a private doctor that she had recently returned from a West African country that is not affected by the deadly virus.

Sources said the Guyanese woman recently visited the Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire).

The  Ministry of Health said the woman was discharged because Ebola was discounted by medical experts. However, she is still being monitored by a medical team. “As her exposure was very low-risk and she has NO signs or symptoms of infectious disease she will be kept in voluntary isolation. There is no threat to her family or the community. A team has been assigned with monitoring her daily and this work has already commenced even in the first hours following her discharge,” said the ministry in a statement.

Word quickly spread Friday afternoon that a woman believed to be carrying the virus was at the GPHC, even as President Donald Ramotar was chairing a high-level meeting on how to respond to the threat of the disease that has already spread to Europe and the United States.

Following is the full text of the Ministry of Health statement:

On October 24th 2014, GPHC was notified by a private physician of a patient who had recently travelled to a West African nation where Ebola is not present. She went to the Physician for evaluation and treatment of leg pains. During the Physician’s interview, she reported some mild joint pains and was concerned about Chikungunya infection.  She had recently returned from a leisure trip to a region in West Africa, so the Private Physician referred her directly to GPHC. The EBOLA response team was immediately summoned and convened and she was placed immediately in isolation for investigation. She reported returning to Guyana, via Suriname, from a West African country where Ebola is NOT currently present.  She has not had contact with anyone with sickness of any kind in the last 21 days. She has not had fever at any point, but had taken non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for joint pains the previous day. This medication could mask a fever of any origin.

Out of an abundance of precaution, she was monitored by Senior Infectious Disease Specialists until enough time had passed for the medication to wear off. She remained free of fever and had no other symptoms. As such, she was discharged from isolation with any suspicion of Ebola Viral Disease discounted. She will be followed on a daily basis to ensure that fever or other symptoms do not develop.

As her exposure was very low-risk and she has NO signs or symptoms of infectious disease she will be kept in voluntary isolation. There is no threat to her family or the community. A team has been assigned with monitoring her daily and this work has already commenced even in the first hours following her discharge.