African Ebola has Bahamas on alert

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.


Deputy Chief Reporter


MINISTRY of Health officials remain on high alert over the Ebola outbreak currently wreaking havoc in parts of Africa.

There have been no reported cases of Ebola in The Bahamas and Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said work was ongoing to ensure the country remained free of the deadly virus.

This comes after a flight in the United States, believed to be bound for The Bahamas, had been quarantined after a person on board was said to have visited Ebola infected parts of Africa.

“(We) are absolutely on alert and this is something that we have had no cases of Ebola. We don’t want any cases of Ebola. We don’t want any more case of measles, but these international health regulations are there to protect the public,” Dr Sands told reporters yesterday outside Cabinet.

“So when the public health teams go out and do surveillance they are looking for evidence of diarrheal diseases, water borne diseases, vector borne diseases and they are working even in the post (Hurricane) Dorian reality and it’s working.”

Regarding the Bahamas bound flight, Dr Sands said: “As you know we live in a world of Ebola and there are international health regulations that define what constitutes a risk or hazard. The Democratic Republic of Congo is the epicentre of the current Ebola outbreak.

“This has now spread to Uganda and Rwanda and so when persons are identified as potentially having fever and or constitutional symptoms and they have travelled to an area where there have been documented cases of Ebola - it now triggers a number of protective mechanisms.

“I believe that is a reason why the flight was detained but as you can imagine the entire world is trying to contain a very serious public health risk,” Dr Sands also said.

“So the World Health Organisation several months ago would have identified the current situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a public health incident of international concern and any time we see that now we have to be very very mindful.”

He said the Ministry of Health had engaged with various ministries to ensure all avenues are covered to ensure no potential at risk Ebola patients enter the country.


joeblow 3 years, 7 months ago

One thing I like about this country is that we are always ready, UNTIL something happens!


Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 7 months ago

A single case of Ebola in the Bahamas would be enough to kill what remains of our tourism industry in the wake of Dorian. But neither Minnis nor Sands (both medical doctors) are able to identify the specific tangible steps that have been taken by government to protect the Bahamas from an outbreak of Ebola. World health authorities have failed to contain a major outbreak of this deadly virus to the Republic of Congo and it has now spread to several neighbouring and nearby countries on the African continent.

The landing rights of all flights from countries known to be suffering from an Ebola outbreak should have been long ago suspended, as well as all flights from other countries now considered to be at the greatest risk of an outbreak developing anytime soon. Why hasn't D'Aguilar, as Minister of Tourism with responsibility for Aviation, made a public announcement revealing those countries that the Bahamas will not accept commercial and private flights from? Also, what about sea vessels from any of those same countries. And why haven't immigration and customs officials at all of our air and sea ports of entry to the Bahamas been equipped with portable (hand held) devices capable of detecting even a mild fever an incoming traveller may have?

God forbid we find our Minnis-led FNM government is no better prepared to deal with an outbreak of Ebola in the Bahamas than they were to deal with the recent major hurricane. And is our government aware that there is a considerable indirect air traffic between Haiti and various countries in Africa that greatly increases the risk of an Ebola outbreak in Haiti that could all too easily spread to the Bahamas?


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