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An employee at Canada's national animal health laboratory in Winnipeg, in the Western province of Manitoba, may have been exposed to the Ebola virus yesterday, federal officials say. In 2007, there were 15 Bio-safety Level 4 labs in the USA and one Level 4 lab in Canada.

The employee was working with pigs that had been experimentally exposed to Ebola when he noticed a split in his suit.

The employee was offered an experimental Ebola virus vaccine that has been used in trials in Africa. It is unclear how the suit, which was new, had ripped, Copps said.

Despite the fact that specialists at the Centre believe the risk of infection to be low, the employee has voluntarily put himself into a 21-day isolation.

All the pigs had been anesthetized and were being moved by the employee at the time, he said.

The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease is co-located in Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory, which holds samples of the world's deadliest diseases for research.

Ebola virus disease (EVD), also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) or simply Ebola, is a viral hemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates.

In 2014, the worst outbreak of the virus struck West Africa, killing more than 11,300 people - a lot of them in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

According to the World Health Organization, Ebola has killed up to 90 percent of those infected during some outbreaks, though the average chance of survival is about 50 percent. One of those outbreaks took place near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo, giving the virus its name.

Until then, the best defense against Ebola is to avoid direct contact with those infected, wear full-body protection, and wash hands very, very often, specialists say. More advanced symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, rash, signs of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. These symptoms can begin two to 21 days after exposure.