January 13, 2015 3:33 pm

Canada sending 3rd lab to help Ebola fight

A health worker wearing a personal protective equipment works on November 11, 2014 in the red zone of the Hastings treatment centre in Hastings, outside Freetown, Sierra Leone.


TORONTO – Canada is sending a third mobile laboratory team to West Africa to help with the fight against Ebola.

The third team will be providing laboratory support for Medecins Sans Frontieres at their Ebola treatment facility in Magburaka in Sierra Leone.

The two other Canadian mobile labs are also operating in Sierra Leone.

The National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, which pioneered the use of ultra mobile laboratories in Ebola outbreaks about a decade ago, has had at least one team in Sierra Leone since last June.

In October, the federal government announced it was sending a second mobile lab to help the Ebola response.

The two teams currently in Sierra Leone are providing diagnostic services for treatment units at Kailahun and Magburaka.

The federal government says the new team will assist MSF with another type of testing. It will be analyzing samples from patients in a bid to improve treatment for individual patients. They will be checking electrolyte levels, blood chemistry and running tests to determine kidney and liver health status.

The latest figures from the World Health Organization suggest there have been more than 21,000 cases of Ebola in this long-running outbreak and nearly 8,400 deaths.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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