Ebola: experts probe death on board after ship docks in Durban

2014-09-12 00:00

A DOCTOR was called to a ship in Durban harbour yesterday to confirm that one of its sailors had not died from Ebola.

The Chinese man died on board the container vessel Kota Permasan earlier this week, after suffering high fever and severe headaches during a voyage down the African coast.

Niven Ora, charter agent for the ship, said: “We needed to be sure he did not die of Ebola.”

Professor Lucille Blumberg, deputy director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, said two separate tests yesterday confirmed the man had died from malaria.

Blumberg advised the doctor on the case, and said the seaman’s death had triggered “a discussion about Ebola” among the crew.

Last week, The Witness reported that a Pietermaritzburg mine projects manager, Graeme Dennis, was screened as a suspected Ebola case in Sierra Leone, before being found to have malaria.

Blumberg said the seaman had not been ashore at any port where the Ebola epidemic was present.

Blumberg said the symptoms reported — including fever and convulsions — were consistent with cerebral malaria, which was confirmed with blood tests.

“Ships which travel down the coast … of Africa should be equipped with malaria treatment kits – there are very effective treatments for this disease,” she said.

Arrangements are being made to return the body to China.

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