FEAR and panic has gripped Rahima MoosaMother and Child Hospital in Johannesburg after it was rumoured that the first Ebola patient was admitted in the maternity ward and later transferred to an isolation ward.
The latest news came just a week after Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi said hospitals in the country would be beefed up if an outbreak of the virus occurred.
The Gauteng Health Department, however, denied that a patient from Guinea in West Africa was admitted at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital after she arrived in the country 13 days ago.
DRUM called the office of the hospital’s CEO who did not deny that there was such a patient but instead referred us to the Gauteng Health Department for comment on the matter.
“Nothing has been confirmed, so there’s no such thing. We’re going to a meeting to talk about this (rumours of first Ebola patient at the hospital) and we will release a media statement later,’’ said a communications department spokesperson, who declined to give DRUM her name.
Fear spread in the hospital after it emerged that the pregnant patient from Guinea had been put in an isolation ward for observation.
The source said the staff at the hospital were worried that the patient was going to infect many people, including health workers, other patients and even visitors.
The doctor, according to the source, told the nurse that it was not confirmed that it was Ebola, and that the virus spread if patients are vomiting blood, have diarrhoea and other symptoms.
At the time of publishing the article online, the Gauteng Health Department officials were still locked in a meeting to discuss the fast-spreading rumours of Ebola at the hospital. They promised to release a statement to DRUM after the meeting.
Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting that Nigeria has confirmed 11 cases of Ebola, after a doctor who treated the Liberian man who brought the disease to Lagos fell ill. Ebola is one of the world’s most deadly diseases. It is a highly infectious virus that can kill up to 90 percent of the people who catch it and is so infectious that patients need to be treated in isolation by staff wearing protective clothing. Since developing in March in Guinea, this latest outbreak has spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia, where according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been 932 deaths.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has over 670 staff on the ground helping to treat those infected and contain the Ebola outbreak.
By Kaizer Ngwenya
Additional source: MSF