Government of Canada deploys a third mobile laboratory team to provide enhanced Ebola clinical testing in Sierra Leone

January 13, 2015
Winnipeg, MB
Public Health Agency of Canada

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, and Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Gregory Taylor, today announced that the Government of Canada has deployed a third mobile laboratory and two additional Public Health Agency of Canada scientists to Sierra Leone. The team will spend a week in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Brussels, Belgium training with Doctors Without Borders before travelling to Sierra Leone on January 18th.

Once in Sierra Leone, the team will be assisting Doctors Without Borders physicians in Magburaka by testing samples from Ebola patients to support their ongoing clinical care. The tests performed by this mobile laboratory will provide physicians with timely information about the health of their patients, such as electrolytes level, blood chemistry and indicators of renal and liver health, that will allow healthcare workers to design care plans specific to the patient’s needs.

This team is being deployed alongside the Agency’s two other existing mobile laboratory teams that are providing laboratory capabilities to diagnose Ebola in Kailahun and Magburaka, Sierra Leone. With this third team on the ground, the Agency currently has six scientists in Sierra Leone operating three mobile laboratories.

The Government of Canada remains committed to aiding in the response to this outbreak, both for humanitarian reasons and to protect global public health.

Quick Facts

  • Canada is a leader in fighting Ebola and continues to contribute to the outbreak response in West Africa. The Government of Canada has committed more than $110 million, to support health, humanitarian, and security interventions both at home and abroad to address Ebola.
  • Canada has also offered in-kind support – such as mobile lab teams – and has donated 800 vials of Canada’s experimental Ebola vaccine and personal protective equipment.
  • The Government of Canada recently launched the “Join the Fight Against Ebola” campaign, which promotes the recruitment of Canadian healthcare workers through the Canadian Red Cross.
  • Canadian Armed Forces healthcare and support staff are in Sierra Leone providing patient care at an Ebola treatment facility.
  • The Agency has been providing rapid diagnostic laboratory support in Sierra Leone since June 2014 with rotating teams of scientists. 
  • Each mobile laboratory team’s rotation in the field typically lasts four weeks.
  • There has never been a case of Ebola in Canada.  The Ebola virus does not spread easily from person to person. It’s spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids, not through casual contact.
  • The Government of Canada has a number of systems in place in Canada to identify and prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases like Ebola, including continually monitoring and tracking infectious diseases across Canada and administering the Quarantine Act at all points of entry into Canada, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
  • Any Canadians travelling abroad are encouraged to consult the Travel Health Notices on the Ebola outbreak.


“Public Health Agency of Canada scientists are internationally recognized as leading experts in fighting Ebola, and we are proud to deploy this additional team to help stop and control the virus in West Africa. It is our hope that the work of this third mobile laboratory – providing physicians with ongoing information about the health of their patients – will allow healthcare workers to provide medical treatments tailored to their patients’ needs and ultimately, save more lives.  .”
Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

“Agency Scientists are proud to assist Doctors Without Borders in providing care for Ebola patients in West Africa. This enhanced mobile laboratory will not only provide diagnosis and clinical care support, but it will also provide much needed diagnostic advice to physicians. The experience our scientists are gaining in West Africa will also help inform Canadian doctor’s treating serious infectious diseases back here at home.”
Dr. Gregory Taylor
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

Related Products

News release – Government of Canada announced on-the-ground support for the Ebola outbreak

Fact Sheet – Ebola Virus Disease

Travel Health Notices – Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Canada’s Ebola Response – Domestic

Canada’s Ebola Response – International


Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
(613) 957-2983