Belmont, Perth,

Paramedics prepared for Ebola potential

St John Ambulance WA has reinforced its infectious disease protocols in response to the occurrence of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa and a suspected case in Perth.

General Manager Metropolitan Ambulance Service James Sherriff said St John had long-standing and established procedures for handling patients with a suspected infectious disease.

“St John receives regular notifications on the status of EVD from the Department of Health at state and federal levels,” Mr Sherriff said.

“While the likelihood of widespread EVD in Australia is extremely low, given the recent outbreak of EVD in West Africa, we thought it was timely to review our infectious patient protocols and reinforce them with all on road staff.”

Patients with suspected EVD have:

  • A fever of or above 38C
  • AND history of travel from West Africa (Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea or Nigeria) in the past 21 days
  • or contact with a confirmed EVD case
  • or contact with EVD-infected blood, tissue or objects (eg. sharps)

“Our crews are equipped with appropriate protective equipment including masks, glasses, overalls, over-boots and gloves,” Mr Sherriff said.

“We avoid the risk of exposure to other ambulance or hospital staff by limiting unnecessary patient contact.

“St John also provides early notification to the receiving infectious disease hospital as this is key to ensuring the best possible outcome for the patient and minimal risk to all treating clinicians.”