NCID: SA won't treat foreigners with Ebola

2014-08-01 13:38
A staff member of the charity Samaritan's Purse wears protective gear whilst entering a room where Ebola patients are kept in the ELWA hospital in Monrovia. (Zoom Dosso, AFP)

A staff member of the charity Samaritan's Purse wears protective gear whilst entering a room where Ebola patients are kept in the ELWA hospital in Monrovia. (Zoom Dosso, AFP)

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Johannesburg - South Africa will not treat foreigners who contract the deadly Ebola virus, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said on Friday.

"If there is a confirmed diagnosis of a foreign national, they will not be allowed into the country [to get treatment]," NICD head of public health, surveillance, and response Lucille Blumberg told reporters in Johannesburg.

"If it is undiagnosed and the person does not know, they will be treated."

The Associated Press reported that over 700 people had died in West Africa from Ebola, with the worst-recorded outbreak in history centred in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

Blumberg said although the government had taken a stand on the treatment of foreigners, those infected would not generally have the means to come to South Africa and seek treatment.

There were no cases of Ebola in the country and the chances of such a pandemic breaking out in the country were minimal, she said.

"We have no Ebola in the country. The chances of the outbreak [in SA] are very small," she said.

Blumberg said it was important for people to know about the virus and for those infected to disclose their status to doctors. She said the virus was not easily transmitted and said those travelling to affected areas would not contract the virus.

"You need direct contact with an individual infected. You cannot get it from the air," she said.

Read more on:    diseases  |  ebola

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