Ebola: No need to panic, minister tells Zimbabweans

2014-10-10 11:36
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Cape Town – Zimbabwe’s health minister David Parirenyatwa has reportedly urged the country not to panic, following reports of a suspected Ebola case in Harare.

AFP reported on Thursday that a local hospital had been shut down to isolate a patient who was being tested for Ebola.

Other patients in the 35-bed Wilkins Hospital had been transferred to alternative health facilities, the report said.

But according to New Zimbabwe.com, Parirenyatwa sought to allay fears amongst Zimbabweans saying: "The issue here is that of public health versus public panic. We need to curb that. Let me emphasise that there is still no Ebola in Zimbabwe and we hope there will never be."

Parirenyatwa said the patient came to the hospital with fever, a high temperature, vomiting and bleeding, but "our doctors did malaria tests and she was positive, so she has malaria. To us it’s still a scare".

Zimbabwe's health sector

Specimens taken from the patient, whose nationality and identity were not disclosed, had been sent to a laboratory in South Africa.

Parirenyatwa said government was sending specimens to South Africa to test the effectiveness of its system, in the event of an outbreak of the disease, a News Day report said.

The minister, however, maintained that his ministry was still treating the case as suspected Ebola and would perform all the necessary procedures while awaiting the results.

Ebola is transmitted by close contact with the bodily fluids of a person who is showing symptoms of infection such as fever, aches, vomiting and diarrhoea, or who has recently died of the virus.

Zimbabwe's health sector has been battling to recover after years of neglect as the country reels under political and economic crises.

A cholera outbreak in 2008 killed 4 000 people.

Read more on:    david parirenyatwa  |  zimbabwe  |  health  |  ebola  |  southern africa

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