Aust displayed 'world class' preparedness to Ebola scare

15 September, 2014

The professionalism shown by emergency and health workers in dealing with a suspected Ebola patient on the Gold Coast should be praised, Minister for Health Peter Dutton has said in a statement.

The Gold Coast man has since been cleared of having the disease.

"(The workers') actions showed Australia's preparedness and ability to deal with a health threat such as Ebola," Dutton said.

"Queensland Health was quick to institute well-established protocols and processes to deal with the threat.

"The patient, who had previously travelled to an Ebola-affected country, was isolated, overseen by infectious disease experts with necessary tests quickly initiated.

"(The) incident though shows that our emergency services and hospitals are well trained, prepared and equipped to deal with such threats."

Closely coordinated nationwide approach

Dutton said all states were working closely with the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Professor Chris Baggoley who was coordinating Australia's preparedness for a case of Ebola.

Professor Baggoley is also a member of various World Health Organisation (WHO) emergency committees dealing with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

"As chair of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) Professor Baggoley convenes weekly teleconferences with the States to discuss the Ebola outbreak and any current and specific local and national response arrangements," Dutton said.

State and Territory Chief Health Officers have issued specific guidance to their designated hospitals, paramedic and ambulance workforces, general practice, and state-based quarantine and medical staff so they can effectively isolate, test and treat a case of Ebola.

While Ebola is a very serious disease, it is not highly contagious. Ebola is not influenza. It is not caught through coughing or sneezing, but can only be transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids of a symptomatic infected person or animal.