Ebola fears for Brisbane patient

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 26 Oktober 2014 | 20.01

The World Health Organisation says the number of people infected with Ebola has risen to more than 10,000.

NINETEEN people are being isolated in home quarantine in Brisbane as a precaution against spreading the Ebola virus, as a teenage woman undergoes tests for the deadly disease in hospital.

The 18-year-old is being kept in an isolation ward at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital after developing a fever yesterday.

She arrived in Australia 12 days ago from Conakry in Guinea, with eight members of her extended family, including six children.

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The group is one of four West African families who have arrived in Brisbane in the past couple of weeks from Ebola virus hot spots.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said they all had agreed to remain in home quarantine until the 21-day incubation period had expired.

"They've been extraordinarily co-operative. These people have gone directly from the airport into home quarantine," Dr Young said.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said there was no risk to anyone on the same flight at the African woman as she did not have symptoms at that time. Pic: Marc Robertson.

"We're supporting these people. They don't need to go out and shop, we're providing them with food.

"They've got everything they need. They have no need to leave the house."

Dr Young said the families had been taking their temperatures twice a day since arriving in Queensland and the 18-year-old had advised a public health officer of her fever when she was contacted yesterday.

Paramedics wearing full personal protective equipment took the young woman to the RBWH, where she was put in an isolation room.

"There'll be one nurse for each shift who only looks after her, doesn't look after any other patient, and she won't be allowed any visitors," Dr Young said.

"All of the staff going into that room will be wearing full personal protective equipment."

Dr Young said RBWH staff looking after the teenage woman had been advised to maintain a "one-metre distance" from their own families as a precaution.

She said the woman's family members remained in home isolation but none had experienced any symptoms and were "perfectly well".

The 18-year-old patient was taken to RBWH after reporting a fever. Pic: Jamie Hanson

"There is no risk for the community at all because she hasn't left the house or had any visitors in the time that she's been here in Brisbane," Dr Young said.

"She's been very responsible as has her whole family.

"We were told about the arrival of this family. A decision was made that the safest response would be to ask these people to go into home quarantine. They agreed. We had people meet them at the airport."

Her first blood tests for Ebola virus will be known this morning but she cannot be cleared until the results of a second test in three days' time are returned.

"It's unlikely that she has the disease because she doesn't remember coming into contact with anyone with Ebola virus disease," Dr Young said.

The Chief Health Officer said she had no concern for the people who travelled into Australia on the same flights as the West African woman.

"You need direct contact with the secretions of someone who is sick," Dr Young said.

"She didn't excrete the virus on the plane so it was impossible for anyone to get infected."

The isolation room at RBWH where suspected patients with Ebola stay. Pic: Peter Wallis

"You need to have symptoms and be excreting the virus, in vomit, in faeces, in sweat, in urine and she doesn't have any symptoms."

The woman's fever had by last night abated and Dr Young said it's unlikely she has Ebola.

"But she's been in an area that there's been a significant number of cases so there's always that potential," Dr Young said.

A NSW MP on Sunday night came under fire for making fun of the Queensland Ebola scare.

Liberal MP Peter Phelps launched a series of bizarre, insensitive tweets that mocked the sunshine state for being "beautiful one day; pandemic the next".

The Brisbane scare comes as an Australian man living in Thailand is under Ebola watch.

The man had recorded an elevated temperature and was been told to stay at his home in Thailand after returning from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 49 people have died of Ebola.

The unnamed man returned to Thailand on October 17 from the DRC, where he works in the oil-drilling industry.

New York and New Jersey have ordered a mandatory quarantine for medics who treated Ebola victims in Africa.

He lives in Trat province, 312km southeast of Bangkok.

Reports said Trat Hospital had been asked by the Thai public health office to prepare "to put a patient under investigation", after he recorded an elevated temperature when he was tested at Bangkok international airport.

A doctor at Trat Hospital's emergency unit said the man had been told to "remain at home" under observation, until November 5, three weeks after returning from Africa.

"He doesn't come to the hospital, he just stays at home," the doctor told AAP.

The order is in line with the mandatory 21-day quarantine for medics returning to the US who may have had contact with Ebola patients in west Africa.

The Ebola outbreak in the DRC, reported by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is unrelated to the outbreak in west Africa, where nearly 10,000 people have been infected and almost 5000 have died from the virus.

In DR Congo, the CDC has reported 67 cases of Ebola and 49 deaths.

The concerns over the Australian comes as Thai medical authorities are set to reveal the results of blood tests on a British man, 68, who was found dead in his apartment in Phuket on October 23.

The suspected Brisbane case comes after a New York doctor tested positive last week, and as an Australian man is under Ebola watch in Thailand.

The man, who had travelled from Lagos in Nigeria on October 7, went to a local hospital on October 15 after fainting. Doctors treated him for a heart condition and sent him home.

The Thai Health Department is monitoring about 25 people who had been in contact with the man.

Research scientists at Thailand's Mahidol University announced recently they were successful in developing an antibody treatment for Ebola using human gene therapy.

The Thai researchers are receiving assistance from the World Health Organisation and the US National Institute of Health to continue their research.

Thailand is closely monitoring visitors from Ebola-affected states, with more than 2400 people screened without detecting any cases.

In his weekly address, President Obama focuses on Ebola saying patients can beat the deadly virus, after seven Americans treated; all seven survived. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

Originally published as Ebola scare sees 19 in quarantine

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