Ebola ruled out in case of hospitalized Saskatoon man
Published Tuesday, March 25, 2014 8:31AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 25, 2014 12:46PM EDT
Lab testing has confirmed that a Saskatoon man who was hospitalized after a recent trip to West Africa does not have the Ebola virus.
In a statement released Tuesday, Canada's deputy chief public health officer said there are no confirmed cases of Ebola or any other hemorrhagic viruses in Canada.
"In fact, there has never been a confirmed case of hemorrhagic virus in this country," the statement reads. It adds that the risk of contracting such a virus "remains very low" in Canada.
Testing for the possible hemorrhagic virus case was conducted Monday night and results were confirmed by the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory.
Viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) refers to a group of illnesses that can cause overall vascular damage and can impair the body's ability to regulate itself, according to the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and yellow fever are diseases that fall under the VHF family.
Tuesday's confirmation that the Canadian man has not contracted a hemorrhagic virus comes after World Health Organization spokesperson Gregory Hartl said in a tweet earlier on Tuesday that the man, who has not been identified, tested negative for a number of illnesses found in Africa.
The Canadian man is being kept in isolation at a Saskatoon hospital and remains seriously ill. According to Canada’s Public Health Agency, testing continues to diagnose his illness.
On Monday, Saskatchewan health officials had said the man was being examined for a suspected case of viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF), cautioning that they hadn't yet identified the nature of the illness.
He had recently returned from a trip to Liberia, where health officials are investigating the deaths of five people after a group crossed the border from neighbouring Guinea. The World Health Organization says the Ebola virus has killed 59 people in the West African country.
According to officials, the Canadian man showed no signs of the illness on his return home.
There is no vaccine for the Ebola virus, which leads to severe hemorrhagic fever. People with the virus can also bleed from the eyes and mouth, one of the final symptoms.
Saskatchewan health officials say Ebola is transferrable through saliva and other bodily fluids, but it not as contagious as some might believe.