Ebola Virus Hits Canada: Could This Be The Start Of A Pandemic?

The Ebola virus appears to have hit Canada. One man who recently traveled to West Africa, where the virus is already running rampant, is being kept in isolation as a hospital in Saskatoon. The Canadian man reportedly presented with symptoms of a hemorrhagic fever which Saskatchewan health officials believe resemble the early stages of the Ebola virus.

The Canadian man with the Ebola virus reportedly became ill after visiting the nation of Liberia. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the death toll from the outbreak in the region may be higher than 59 patients. French researchers are testing samples form Ebola virus victims in Guinea. The scientists believe they have identified the virus as the Zaire strain. The realization is not good news for either patients or those who have potentially been exposed to the virus. The Zaire strain is reportedly the deadliest of the five know Ebola virus strains.

The first known Ebola virus victim in Canada has undergone tests which have now been sent to Canada's Public Health Agency's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Although results are expected later today, Dr. Denise Werker, Saskatchewan's deputy medical health officer, thinks they may be inconclusive.

Dr. Werker also had this to say about the Canada Ebola virus case:

"All we know at this point is that we have a person who is critically ill who traveled from a country where these diseased occur. There is no risk to the general public at all about this."
Not everyone in the region feels reassured by Dr. Werker's statement. The man believed to have been stricken with the Ebola virus was on an airplane and walking around in the community before being admitted to the hospital. Fears that he may have passed along the virus abound in the region. Hospital workers are taking added precautions such as wearing masks, gloves, gowns, and boots when caring for the patient. Dr. Werker maintains that hemorrhagic fevers are not spread easily.

Typically, Ebola virus hemorrhagic fevers are spread via direct with bodily secretions, blood, or objected contaminated with such fluids. If left untreated and no vaccine given, hemorrhagic fevers reportedly result in a more severe fever and internal bleeding.

The incubation period for hemorrhagic fever is up to 21 days, according to Dr. Werker. The Canadian man reportedly showed no signs of illness while traveling. "Viral hemorrhagic fever is a generic name for a number of rather exotic diseases that are found in Africa," the doctor added. This particular disease class included Crimean-Congo, yellow, and Lassa fever as well.

[Image Via: Sergey Uryadnikov/Shutterstock.com]