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Chief Health Officer calls for calm

Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young has called for calm after a 27 year old man was taken to the Gold Coast University Hospital with suspected Ebola virus disease (EVD). 

Dr Young said Queensland Health had heard concerning reports of unnecessary hype and fear circulating in the community.

Reports on social media and calls to 13 HEALTH suggest people were cancelling holidays to Queensland, checking out of their Gold Coast accommodation early, and even pulling their children out of school.

"The community needs to know that there is an extremely low risk of contracting Ebola, regardless of whether this man’s test results come back positive or negative later this evening."

"Ebola virus disease is not a highly contagious disease like the 'flu or a cold; it requires direct exposure to an infected person’s bodily fluids such as blood, vomit or faeces, during the time they are infectious.

"Importantly, this patient doesn’t have a fever which is one of the first signs of Ebola virus infection, so it is very unlikely that he has Ebola virus from his history of where he's been and also his symptoms.

"So there is absolutely no need for people to panic for any reason."

Dr Young said Queensland along with other states and territories had worked closely with the Commonwealth in preparing State and National plans to manage suspected Ebola virus disease cases, which were implemented successfully in this case.

"The response by paramedics and hospital staff was excellent; they wore appropriate personal protective equipment, Gold Coast University Hospital immediately isolated him in a single negative pressure room, and he’s remaining there at the moment, so I think everything’s been done appropriately."

"It is a credit to them for how well it was handled."

Dr Young said preliminary contact information was being collected in the unlikely event the test results, which are not expected back until later this evening, were positive for Ebola virus disease.

"We are keeping him in isolation and of course checking for other diseases as he was feeling unwell so it’s important we make sure his health is ok."

Further information will be provided once it comes to hand.

ENDS

Media contact: 3234 1439

Last updated: 11 September 2014