If Ebola is suspected
If a GP is concerned that a patient may have Ebola they should:
- isolate the patient in a single room
- restrict access to the patient's room and keep at least 1 metre away from the patient
- avoid direct contact
- wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) if direct contact is necessary
- seek urgent advice from your local public health unit on 1300 066 055 and an ID Physician at your nearest tertiary referral hospital.
Do not collect blood or other clinical samples for testing.
General Practitioners should remain alert to the possibility of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in sick travellers returning from affected parts of West Africa. Although travellers from EVD-affected areas are not being advised to go to GPs if they develop symptoms, general practice staff need to be prepared if they are contacted by these patients of if they present for care.
Patients with EVD generally have sudden onset of a fever and other symptoms typically commencing 8 to 12 days after exposure, but onset can be delayed up to 21 days. Initial signs and symptoms are often non-specific. Diarrhoea and vomiting tend to be more prominent later in the illness.
Due to the non-specific early symptoms, EVD may be confused with other more common infectious diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever, dengue, meningococcemia, and other bacterial infections.
The risk of EVD infection is extremely low unless there has been direct exposure to the body fluids of an infected person.