Costa Rican health officials announce measures to prevent introduction of Ebola virus here

August 11, 2014

The declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday of the outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa as an international public emergency prompted local health officials to implement a series of measures to prevent the possible spread to Costa Rica.

Health Ministry Director of Health Surveillance María Ethel Trejos on Friday said that one of the first steps involves immigration staff at all airports, who will identify and interview travelers arriving from countries with active cases of the virus.

“If we suspect someone might be carrying [Ebola], officials will immediately quarantine that person until the incubation period passes,” Trejos said. The incubation period is 2-21 days, and people are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus, according to the WHO.

The emergency measures designate San Rafael Hospital in Alajuela and Hospital México in San José as the two key points of operational response for anyone with Ebola symptoms.

Trejos reiterated that no Ebola cases have been detected in Costa Rica, and she asked travelers to avoid countries with outbreaks.

According to the Immigration Administration, nine Costa Ricans have traveled to Liberia and Sierra Leone this year, and 111 Ticos have traveled to Nigeria. None have Ebola symptoms.

The Ebola virus causes an acute illness characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. Those symptoms are followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, impaired kidney and liver functions, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding (see infograph below). Lab findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.

According to the WHO, as of Aug. 6, the cumulative number of Ebola cases in the four hardest-hit African countries – Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria – stands at 1,779, including 961 deaths.

Ebola Virus symptoms
(Courtesy of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Nicaragua calls Carlos Alvarado’s statements “disrespectful” and “intruding”
News
434 views
News
434 views

Nicaragua calls Carlos Alvarado’s statements “disrespectful” and “intruding”

AFP / The Tico Times - October 16, 2018

The Nicaraguan government described statements by Costa Rican president Carlos Alvarado about Nicaragua's “internal affairs” as “disrespectful” and “intruding.” The…

Transformational travel in Costa Rica: Turning the flat world round
Costa Rica
514 views
Costa Rica
514 views

Transformational travel in Costa Rica: Turning the flat world round

Alissa Grosskopf - October 16, 2018

The sound of roaring water and the fear in my body drown out the encouraging shouts of my group behind…

Children: the future of shark protection
Changemakers
449 views
Changemakers
449 views

Children: the future of shark protection

Alissa Grosskopf - October 16, 2018

The nonprofit organization Misión Tiburón is strongly engaged in the protection of hammerhead sharks in Costa Rica. They hope to…