Group says Canadian doctor who treated Ebola patients not in self-imposed quarantine
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, July 29, 2014 10:21AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 29, 2014 7:41PM EDT
A spokesperson for the Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse says a Canadian doctor is not in self-imposed quarantine after treating patients in West Africa for Ebola.
The group earlier said Dr. Azaria Marthyman of Victoria, B.C., had voluntarily quarantined himself after spending nearly a month treating patients for the deadly disease.
“Dr. Marthyman has assured us that (‘self-imposed quarantine’) is not a correct term to be applied to this situation,” spokesperson Jeff Adams told CTV News on Tuesday.
Marthyman was among a handful of Canadian health-care workers who travelled to Liberia, one of three countries hit by the outbreak. He was part of a North American team from Samaritan’s Purse.
He worked at the agency’s facility in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, before returning to Canada last Saturday. He has not tested positive for the disease.
“Azaria is symptom-free right now and there is no chance of being contagious with Ebola if you are not exhibiting symptoms,” Melissa Strickland, a spokesperson for Samaritan’s Purse, had earlier told CTV Vancouver Island.
Two Americans working in Liberia have come down with the disease, including one of Marthyman’s colleagues with Samaritan’s Purse, Dr. Kent Brantly. The 33-year-old married father of two children is undergoing intensive treatment for the disease, but has been able to speak with doctors and work on his computer.
Aid worker Nancy Writebol, who assisted Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia, is the second American patient to be receiving treatment for the disease.
“We’re all sort of devastated by it,” said Ken Isaacs, the agency’s vice president of programs. “But at the same time we find room for optimism because in both cases the disease was not only diagnosed very quickly, but we were able to begin intensive supportive care.”
Ebola is a highly contagious disease that causes massive internal bleeding. It kills between 60 and 90 per cent of patients. The current outbreak is impacting three countries -- Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone – and is the deadliest in history, according to the World Health Organization.
Health care workers undergo rigorous decontamination processes to avoid infection.
Marthyman’s journey to West Africa is not his first to an area ravaged by disease or disaster. Last year, he travelled to the Philippines to provide medical care to victims of Typhoon Haiyan. In 2010, he joined a medical team that treated patients affected by a cholera epidemic in Haiti.
In an interview prior to his trip to Haiti, the father of seven shared why he risks his life to help others.
“We have this slogan at home that we always say at the table, and it’s ‘do your share and let the love go around,’” Marthyman said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver Island’s Yvonne Raymond