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Patient Dies But Ministry Says Ebola Is Unlikely

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

THE Ministry of Health yesterday stressed that a “suspected case of Ebola” at the Princess Margaret Hospital is “unlikely” but added that “conclusive testing” is being done for a number infectious diseases, including the deadly virus through the US Centers for Disease Control following the death of a patient on Sunday evening.

The patient had travelled to Johannesburg, South Africa in early March.

“According to the World Health Organization, South Africa to date has had no reported cases of Ebola,” the ministry said.

“The Ministry of Health can confirm that all standard protocols, including necessary protective measures in keeping with international guidelines have been followed in the management of the patient at the Princess Margaret Hospital.

“The Ministry of Health will continue to work closely with PAHO and other international partners to ensure that effective measures are followed to safeguard the health of the public in accordance with international best practice.”

According to a statement from PMH on Saturday, the 51-year-old woman patient had travelled to Johannesburg two weeks ago and returned to the Bahamas on March 15.

The patient has not been officially identified, but The Tribune understands she is Patty Miller, an employee at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.

Concerns were raised over the Easter holiday weekend after rumours began to spread on social media that a patient who had recently returned to the Bahamas from Africa was suspected of having the Ebola virus.

In its statement on Saturday, PMH said its “senior health officials” had confirmed that the patient had not presented symptoms “in a manner which indicates Ebola to be the likely diagnosis.” That statement also said that there is no confirmed case of the Ebola virus in PMH at the time.

However, the statement said an “intensive investigation” is underway to determine the patient’s cause of illness. The hospital also said that the patient was being nursed in “isolation” and that it would provide updates as test results were received.

PMH’s statement also said that as with “any potential infectious disease case” it was taking the “necessary precautions and abiding by the highest protocols requisite for such cases within international guidelines.”

The Ministry of Health also stressed that “all standard procedures including necessary protective measures in keeping with international guidelines have been followed in the management of the patient at the Princess Margaret Hospital.”

The statement added that the Ministry of Health and its agencies, including the Public Hospitals Authority, Department of Public Health and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) met on Monday and maintain “that a suspected case of Ebola at the Princess Margaret Hospital is unlikely.”

“…The Ministry of Health will continue to work closely with PAHO and other international partners to ensure that effective measures are followed to safeguard the health of the public in accordance with international best practice,” the ministry added.

The Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. It is not airborne.

At its outset, symptoms of the virus are similar to those of the flu, featuring fatigue, fever, headache, sore throat and pain in the joints and muscles. As the virus progresses, symptoms begin to include gastrointestinal illness like abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite.

Local health officials have maintained that they have protocols in place in case of an Ebola diagnosis in this country.

Comments

sheeprunner12 3 years, 3 months ago

Who will prove for us (The Bahamas) that this person had Ebola?????????? ..... Who can we rely on to reliably inform us (Bahamians) that this person had Ebola???? ....... in the wake of what took place in Parliament last week (Rollins/Mitchell/Fitzgerald), this becomes a matter of serious national security ............... so can we expect to hear from the Director of the National Intelligence Agency soon?????????? ................... BTW: who is the NIA Director, Doc BJ??? ............ Loretta wants to know

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 3 months ago

Yep. It is weird that you can look at someone who's hemorrhaging and say they don't have Ebola. I can understand why they did it, but a negative or positive diagnosis requires a lab test.

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John 3 years, 3 months ago

Whether the person, who eventually died, had Ebola or not, this should serve as a wake up call that the modus operandi at the Accident and Emergency section of PMH needs to be changed. Any patient presenting themselves there for treatment are either mixed in with persons in the waiting area, while they are being registered or they are taken directly to the treatment area and there is no pre-screening for communicable diseases. What makes the situation more volatile and hazardous is that the treatment area is also the recovery area where 20-30 patients may be recovering at any one time. Then you have porters and patients traversing back and forth to other sections of the hospital: for Xrays, MRI, the dispensary and even the cafeteria. So if a patient comes in with a disease such as ebola, one can see how a large section of the hospital population can be exposes to the disease even before it is diagnosed. The fact is there needs to be a pre-screening area, a treatment area and a recovery area, separate and apart from each other. Recently a sewerage pipe burst in the A&E section. Everyone was affected. Those waiting to be treated, those being treated and those recovering.as well as hospital personnel. And oftentimes patients are brought in bearing very foul odors. They are not isolated from from other patients but everyone including health care personnel are made to endure the stench. In fact patients and whoever accompany them have to share cubicles with persons who are bearing this unbearable stench. Some are vagrants off the street. Sometimes the nurses are extremely unaccommodating and outright rude. They tell patients, "f you can't stand the smell, then leave.' then NHI is coming,so pleanty will have to learn to 'stand the smell."

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lisajohn 3 years, 3 months ago

This is a unbelievable way to run a hospital. Yes, I'm from the states. Just very surprised your hospitals are run in this manner. With all of the tourist's that visit your Island this is a disaster waiting to happen. If it was Ebola, and let's pray it isn't. This could be a medical disaster, and if not now it's only time until it does come there. We are having cases now that it has been brought to America. Simple screening could prevent the spreading of disease. Take care, love you guys! Lisa

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B_I_D___ 3 years, 3 months ago

I do not know the answer to this...but can't Ebola be verified...through blood or tissue samples with a high degree of accuracy? Run the tests and give us the results....

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