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Man in Brampton, Ont. being treated for Ebola-like symptoms

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Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Friday, August 8, 2014, 8:28 PM - A man from Brampton, Ontario is being treated for Ebola-like symptoms after travelling to West Africa but doctors are warning the public not to jump to conclusions, as the presence of Ebola has not been confirmed.

Public health officials said the man was admitted to the Brampton Civic hospital Friday, where he is being kept in isolation. The patient frequently travels to Nigeria, one of the areas hardest hit by the outbreak.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, a medical officer with the Region of Peel, stressed the patient has not officially be diagnosed with Ebola and the measures being taken are strictly precautionary, adding that the patient's symptoms could be the result of several diseases.

The news comes hours after the World Health Organization declared the Ebola epidemic to be a global health emergency.

The infection has killed nearly 1,000 people in West Africa so far. Part of the problem is Ebola's long incubation period, which can last between 2 and 21 days.

"A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola," WHO said in a Friday statement following an emergency committee meeting.

"The outbreak is moving faster than we can control it," Margaret Chan, director-general at WHO, told reporters via telephone.

"The declaration ... will galvanize the attention of leaders of all countries at the top level. It cannot be done by the ministries of health alone."

Nigeria has declared a state of emergency in light of the WHO declaration.

CAN EBOLA BE STOPPED?

Health officials are confident they can put an end to the outbreak.


RELATED: Why is Ebola so deadly?


"This is not a mysterious disease. This is an infectious disease that can be contained," Keiji Fukuda, WHO's head of health security, told reporters according to Reuters.

"It is not a virus that is spread through the air."

The health agency is advising governments take greater precautions to stop the spread of the disease, arguing that the best known tactics to control Ebola outbreaks -- i.e., hospital infection control, public awareness and tracking infected patients -- does not appear to be strictly enforced in some areas.

WHAT IS EBOLA?

The Ebola virus is a "severe, often fatal illness, with a case fatality rate of up to 90 [percent]," WHO says on its website.

"It is one of the world’s most virulent diseases. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people. Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care."

Health workers, family members of infected patients and people in close contact with sick or deceased patients are at the greatest risk of becoming infected.

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