Home > The Practice of Nursing > Evidence-Based Practice > Infectious Diseases > Ebola Virus Disease > FAQs from the Public Health Agency of Canada

FAQs from the Public Health Agency of Canada

  1. Where are the Designated Ebola Hospitals?
    Most provinces have designated facilities that are equipped and trained to receive an Ebola patient, should there be a case in Canada. Designated hospitals and provincial governments are acquiring PPE as they need. Twenty-eight Ebola Hospitals have been designated across Canada: http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/diseases-conditions-maladies-affections/disease-maladie/ebola/treatment-traitement/hospitals-hopitaux/index-eng.php

  2. Are Canadian healthcare centres equipped with vaccines or other treatment medication for Ebola?
    The treatment plan for Ebola is focused on providing supportive care, treating the symptoms as they appear and providing care in an intensive care isolation unit to ensure critical body functions are maintained to give the body a chance to fight the infection.

    Some Ebola patients have been given investigational treatments; however clinical trials have not been conducted to prove the treatment’s safety and efficacy on humans. Currently, Canada's efforts are focussed on vaccine development and monoclonal antibodies for treatment.

    The Public Health Agency of Canada has kept a small inventory of experimental Ebola vaccine in Canada for further research, North American Clinical Trials and for the unlikely case that it is needed for compassionate use. The Agency is also willing to pre-position doses of its experimental Ebola vaccine at designated Canadian hospitals in the unlikely event a healthcare worker is accidentally exposed to Ebola while treating a patient.

  3. How will patients be transported to Designated Ebola Hospitals?
    Travellers with a history of travel to an Ebola-affected country who are presenting symptoms will be immediately isolated, and be sent to hospital for a medical examination. The Quarantine Officer will coordinate patient transfers with provincial and local public health authorities. Emergency Medical Services would be contacted for transfer, if the traveller requires transport to a hospital.

  4. How are Designated Ebola Hospitals being equipped to care for Ebola patients?
    Designated hospitals and provincial governments are acquiring PPE as they need.

    In addition, the Public Health Agency of Canada is working with provinces and territories to determine and assess actual PPE and medical supply needs. The intention is to learn what jurisdictions need so we can either provide support from the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS) or facilitate bulk purchasing.

    The NESS has significant PPE stock even after our WHO donation, and continues to be ready to provide surge capacity to provinces and territories. The Agency is in the process of procuring additional specialty equipment and supplies to ensure the NESS is ready.

    If requested by provincial and territorial partners, the Ebola Rapid Response Teams will work with local health officials to assist in containing the spread of the disease including ensuring that all the necessary containment protocols are followed, contact tracing, laboratory expertise and providing any supplies from the NESS that are required, such as masks, gloves and face shields.

  5. What is the protocol for accessing the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS)?
    The National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS) provides surge capacity for provincial and territorial governments, when local and provincial and territorial government resources have been exhausted, as a relevant stockpile of health emergency assets in response to public health threats and emergencies. The Government of Canada can mobilize a surge request only from a Provincial or Territorial government.

  6. What quarantine measures are in place for people traveling from Ebola infected regions?
    All travellers coming into Canada with a travel history from the outbreak regions will need to be monitored for up to 21 days. Quarantine Officers will require these travellers to report to a local public health authority in Canada and will provide travellers with instructions on how to report and an information kit. The kit includes a thermometer to check their temperature twice daily for up to 21 days.

    Travellers with Symptoms
    Travellers with a history of travel to an Ebola-affected country who are presenting symptoms will be immediately isolated (distancing the individual from crowds or using a quarantine assessment room, if available, at major Canadian airports) and sent to hospital for a medical examination. The Quarantine Officer will coordinate patient transfers with provincial and local public health authorities. The hospital would then determine what further measures are required.

    Travellers without Symptoms
    High risk travellers who had direct unprotected contact with Ebola patients (funeral attendants, family members of infected individuals, etc.) will be:

    • given an information package;
    • ordered to report to a public health authority immediately; and
    • asked to self-isolate for 21 days.

    The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that individuals self-isolate within a one hour proximity to a designated treatment centre in order to receive appropriate medical care as soon as possible should they fall ill.

    Low risk travellers have had no known exposure to the Ebola virus. They will be:

    • given an information package,
    • ordered to report to a public health authority within 24 hours; and
    • monitored every day for 21 days.

    These travellers will be required to check their temperature twice daily, report any symptoms they might develop and any travel plans they may have.

    Healthcare professionals returning from outbreak countries who are not presenting symptoms will also be given an information package, required to report to a public health authority, monitor their temperature twice a day, immediately report any symptoms, and report any planned travel. Their public health authority can decide if further precautions are needed on a case-by-case basis.

  7. Who makes up the Ebola Rapid Response Teams?
    In the event of an Ebola case in Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada is ready to respond to a provincial/territorial request for assistance with an Ebola Rapid Response Team of public health experts and epidemiologists.

    There are five Ebola Rapid Response Teams, each consisting of seven subject matter experts. The teams are comprised of a team lead, a field epidemiologist, an infection control expert, a biosafety expert, a laboratory expert, a communicator and a logistics expert.

  8. How will the Ebola Rapid Response Teams be deployed?
    Deployment of the Rapid Response Teams is based on a request by provincial/territorial partners.

    If requested by provincial/territorial partners, a Team would be deployed to work with the provincial/territorial and local health authorities to provide public health surge capacity, additional resources and complementary expertise to prevent any further spread of the disease.

  9. How will the Ebola Rapid Response Teams support provinces and territories?
    We are working very closely with the provinces and territories to prevent Ebola from spreading within Canada and to ensure jurisdictions are properly prepared.

    The Agency continues to work with its provincial and territorial partners to plan and conduct exercises to enable the Rapid Response Teams to easily integrate with provincial and territorial colleagues to provide surge capacity and additional resources on request, such as, supplies from the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile System.

    For instance, drills have been conducted in Ontario (Ottawa) to test the team’s ability to quickly assemble with the proper gear and equip one of the dedicated aircraft. In addition, a drill was conducted in Nova Scotia to test the team’s ability to mobilize quickly as well as another drill, which simulated the immediate steps the team would have to follow to respond to a first case in Canada.

    The lessons learned will be used by the rapid response Teams to support provinces and territories upon a deployment request.