Dominica screening students for Ebola

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

In a move much like that taken by the Minister of Health John Boyce, in Barbados, Dominica will be screening students coming from West Africa where an outbreak of Ebola has caused 1500 deaths to date.

In Barbados, 90 Nigerian students have been kept on hold “until further notice” as announced by Minister of Education the Hon. Ronald Jones and “until things settle down” according to Minister of Health, the Hon. John Boyce. Meanwhile their (the students’) representative, former Barbados Broadcaster Donna St. Hill, insists that the students from Nigeria have been tested and are “not ill”.

Meanwhile Dominica says that they too shall monitor students but will not impose a travel ban at this time.

The Chief Medical Officer there, Dr. David Johnson, said while on air with DBS radio that he will be holding a meeting with all the relevant stakeholders to examine the threat that the virus poses to the island.

“There are a lot of discussions in light of what may have happened in other countries as to the pros and cons of putting travel restrictions. The advice that we provide is that given the low risk that we have at this time and given the best available evidence that we have, given all of the obligations we have under the international health regulations…we are guided a lot by what the World Health Organization advises.”

“We have worked very closely with the medical school (here) where we know there are a number of students from Nigeria and other parts of Africa. We have ascertained the number of students they are expecting to come from that country. We have developed what is referred to as a screening mechanism. We have gotten the numbers, we will identify those students when they arrive…find out exactly which part of Nigeria they coming from, whether there is any possibility of them being in contact with anyone who may have had Ebola”, he continued.

Dr. Johnson said several countries, including Dominica, were now seeking to establish the appropriate isolation facilities to manage any case that may occur.

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