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Canada deploys second mobile lab to West Africa


Ottawa, ON – Canada’s federal government has deployed a second mobile lab team to West Africa. The Public Health Agency of Canada has sent the second mobile laboratory and two additional agency scientists to Sierra Leone to join the agency’s existing team in the field in Kailahun. A third scientist leaves on Tuesday.

One mobile lab team will continue to provide rapid diagnostic support to help local healthcare workers to quickly diagnose Ebola. The second mobile lab team will work with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to monitor the effectiveness of infection prevention procedures such as handwashing stations, face masks and disposal sites to prevent the further spread of Ebola.

On-site laboratory support that produces results in only a few hours is pivotal in responding effectively to an outbreak of Ebola, as it allows for faster isolation of Ebola cases and patient care.

The total agency scientists in the field will end up being a total of four, two for each lab, on a regular rotation. In addition, the agency’s Dr. Gary Kobinger is currently in the Democratic Republic of Congo to provide guidance and support to help control their Ebola outbreak.  

“Infectious diseases do not respect borders,” said Dr. Gregory Taylor, chief public health officer of Canada. “This mobile laboratory team will provide pivotal surge capacity to our existing team in the field and help our international partners stop the spread of this deadly disease.”