In the very unlikely event that there was a case of Ebola in New Zealand, it is expected that it would be an isolated case.
Existing isolation facilities and infection control protocols in New Zealand hospitals are suitable for treating a suspected or confirmed case of Ebola. Given the serious nature of the disease, samples would be sent to a high security reference laboratory overseas for testing.
Northland DHB has been actively preparing for the possibility of seeing someone with Ebola for several months. The work has been undertaken in conjunction with the DHBs Public Health Unit, the Ministry of Health and the Northern Regional DHBs, Auckland, Waitemata and Counties Manukau.
Regional work includes standard transfer protocols, safe management of clinical staff engaged in Ebola patient care, laboratory protocols and waste management. Specialists from the Technical Advisory Group in infectious diseases are providing best practice advice.
Liaison with primary care via Manaia Health and Te Tai Tokerau Primary Health Organisations, Maori Health Trusts and St John is managed via the sharing of information and meetings.
Northland DHB has purchased and distributed the personal protective equipment (PPE) recommended regionally by the Infectious Disease Technical Advisory Group and staff regularly participate in refresher training.
The Northland DHB Ebola specific plan is contained within the 2014 Emerging Infectious Disease and Pandemic Plan which is available to our staff on the Intranet. The plan is in draft as it changes, according to new developments and updates from the sector. The plan contains case definitions, infection prevention and control management, transmission precautions, staff safety processes, and management of the environment.
Staff can also access all the latest information via an Ebola link on the Northland DHB Intranet which refers them to national and international developments.
To ensure New Zealand is as prepared as possible, we have established an expert advisory group. The Ministry will continue to seek their advice as the outbreak overseas progresses.
The Ministry of Health has recently provided up-to-date clinical information on Ebola to district health boards and other health services.
For more information click here to visit the Ministry of Health website.(external link)