Watch above: the Ebola outbreak in Africa should not be reason for panic in Canada
SASKATOON – The Ebola outbreak in Africa has caused major concern worldwide, and now Canada has said it will donate up to 1,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to help fight the outbreak.
Dr. Bruce Reeder spoke to Global News about the vaccine and preventative measures.
“It’s gotten into larger communities now, and it’s spreading rapidly,” said Reeder, who is with the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan.
“A vaccine that has been tested in animals has been sent to Africa. Many vaccines require days or weeks to produce immunity, and so the use of most vaccines at this point would be prevention measures.
“After exposure, given the rapid incubation rate, it’s less likely that the vaccine would have a role in addressing the needs of the patients.”
IN DEPTH: The Ebola outbreak in Africa
Recently, a patient who was placed in the Isolation unit in Brampton, Ont., tested negative for the deadly Ebola virus. The initial incident raised concern with Canadians, but Reeder says public health measures in Canada ensure there is no reason for mass panic.
“There are individuals going back-and-forth from Canada to these countries. It’s quite unlikely it would spread given our health infrastructure and the fact that patients would adhere to the advice in terms of containment,” said Reeder.
“The situation here is quite different than rural Africa.”
The main concern about the Ebola outbreak in Africa is the fact that this is an entirely new strain. While researchers are working on experimental treatments, it is unknown if they will play a major role in Canada’s international assistance.
“It would have to be safe and regulated,” said Reeder.
“WHO recently approved the use of untested Ebola drugs to treat the current outbreak, but there are definitely questions to be asked about who would regulate and approve the drugs.”
More than 1,800 suspected, probable or confirmed case of the disease have been recorded since the outbreak first started in March with over 1,000 deaths.
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