The risk that a highly infectious disease could be accidentally let lose into an unwary population was graphically illustrated earlier this week when a Canadian lab worker may have been accidentally exposed to Ebola. The man was working with six infected pigs at a National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease lab in Winnipeg, government officials told journalists during a conference call, the Daily Mail reports. Six pigs were infected with Ebola as part of the experiment, and the man was suited up to move an anaesthetized pig to be sampled, the article said.
The man noticed a split in the seam of his protective suit during standard decontamination procedures before leaving the lab, John Copps, director of the center, told reporters. The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease is part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. All proper emergency procedures were followed and the risk to the employee, co-workers and community was low, Copps said.
The Winnipeg animal disease lab is on the same site as a microbiology laboratory where scientists developed an experimental Ebola vaccine and is one of only a handful of North American labs capable of handling pathogens requiring the highest level of containment, according to the Daily Mail. The employee has agreed to be isolated and will be monitored for symptoms by health officials for 21 days, Copps said. It was not immediately clear how much contact the employee had with others before realizing the risk of possible infection. READ MORE