POLITICS

Patient in Quebec tested for Ebola, but deemed low-risk of having virus

01/20/2015 07:17 EST | Updated 03/22/2015 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - A patient at a hospital in Quebec's Lanaudiere region is being tested for Ebola, but the region's health authority says the individual is at a low risk of having the virus.

The patient started to have a fever and diarrhea 16 days after returning from an Ebola-stricken part of Africa, a time gap the region's public health director says considerably reduces the chances of infection.

Muriel Lafarge says all the standard isolation protocols have been put in place to monitor the patient, whose gender and identity have not been released.

Public health officials have said Ebola spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone infected with the virus. The current Ebola outbreak has claimed over 8,000 lives, mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

This is the sixth time since the Ebola outbreak in Africa that health authorities have isolated a patient in Quebec.

None of the five previous patients turned out to have the deadly virus.

"Usually, the incubation period for Ebola is between seven and 10 days," Lafarge said. "But the surveillance plan for people who return from one of those countries is 21 days, in order to not take any chances."

Lafarge said the patient called the public health authority as soon the symptoms showed on Tuesday.