Test results on two children admitted earlier today to the Royal Children’s Hospital are negative for ebola virus disease.
Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer, Professor Michael Ackland, said the girls aged 4 and 8 are being treated for a respiratory illness and are now doing well.
Prof Ackland said the siblings returned to Melbourne overnight with their parents and another sibling following an extended visit to Guinea. These family members remain well.
“Routine screening of returning travelers from ebola-affected countries in west Africa identified that the girls had elevated temperatures. As a precaution in accordance with universal infection control procedures, they were transported to the Royal Children’s Hospital to be assessed for a range of infections - including ebola virus disease," Prof Ackland said.
“While this test is negative, we are being extremely cautious and will require a further test in 72 hours to absolutely rule out any possibility of ebola virus disease, according to the state plan.
“Passengers on Etihad flight EY460 which arrived in Melbourne from Abu Dhabi at 11.40pm Wednesday night who would like to receive further information about the signs and symptoms of ebola can contact 1800 356 061.
“Medical staff will be available to take questions and provide information on this number.
“It is highly unlikely that any other passengers, crew members on the flight or airport and ambulance staff who came into contact with the children will fall ill,” Prof Ackland said.
“Obviously, the parents are very concerned for the health of all their children and we are actively monitoring their health and providing them with support.”
The Royal Children’s Hospital is designated to provide care for children under 16 for assessment and management of patients suspected of a viral haemorrhagic fever such as ebola.
While ebola is a very serious disease, it is not highly contagious as it cannot be caught through coughing or sneezing.
The risk of infection is extremely low unless there has been direct exposure to the bodily fluids of an infected person or animal (alive or dead).
The Department of Health & Human Services has a well-developed Victorian Ebola Virus Disease Response Plan which has been issued to all hospitals, paramedics and broader ambulance workforce, general practices, and other medical staff.
Reviewed 26 February 2015