Disease researcher might have been exposed to Ebola
WINNIPEG— An employee at the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease may have been exposed to the Ebola virus.
Dr. John Copps said the employee was working with six infected pigs Monday and noticed a split in the seam of his protective suit during decontamination after working in the Level 4 lab in Winnipeg.
The lab director said all proper emergency procedures were followed and the risk to the employee, co-workers and the community is considered to be low.
“Our employees are well aware of the risks and how to control them,” Copps told a news conference Tuesday.
He said it’s standard procedure to check the full-body suits at least once a week. He would not speculate on how the seam split.
“The employee had worked in the suit previously and the suit was checked rigorously and it was a new suit.”
Officials said there was no contact with other workers before the employee realized the risk of possible infection.
The employee met with a doctor and was offered an experimental Ebola vaccine. Officials, citing privacy, wouldn’t say whether he received the vaccine.
The employee is in isolation and will be monitored for 21days by local health officials.
The national lab works in the prevention, detection, control and reporting of foreign animal diseases and emerging diseases. Its research includes work on avian influenza, foot-and-mouth disease and classical swine fever.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with the blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen of those infected or of corpses.