SA man’s Ebola test results due


Johannesburg - The public will know on Monday whether the South African man who worked in Ebola-ravaged Liberia has the virus.

The man went to his doctor 10 days after his return from West Africa with a fever.

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Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned corpse with Ebola symptoms from Duwala market in Monrovia on Sunday. To try to control the epidemic, Liberia has quarantined remote villages at the epicentre of the virus, evoking the "plague villages" of medieval Europe.The Ebola virus viewed through an electron microscope. Picture: Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine, via AP

Monday is also the day a group of South African health professionals land in Sierra Leone to lend their expertise to the fight against the killer virus. They have begun setting up a mobile Ebola laboratory.

Spokesman for the Ministry of Health Joe Maila said in following the protocols issued to all private and public practitioners and health facilities, the doctor of the ill South African had contacted the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) to discuss the patient.

The man was working as a health and safety officer in a mining operation in Liberia. He arrived in South Africa on August 6. At that time, he was healthy.

He sought medical help 10 days later, when he developed a fever.

Maila said the 37-year-old had no contact with patients while he was in Liberia – he was not involved with patient care.

“Based on the results of initial blood tests, the decision was made to continue to monitor the patient at home and to repeat the blood tests.

“But his temperature increased and it was decided that he should be admitted to Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital for further assessment and investigation,” Maila said.

Speaking to The Star on Monday morning, Maila said he did not know what time on Monday the results would come out.

He said the NICD regarded the patient as low risk for the Ebola virus, but decided to perform the test as a precautionary measure and because he had worked in Liberia, the protocol developed for haemorrhagic fevers needed to be followed.

Maila said the man’s family would not be tested yet because the man had not been diagnosed. “We will take the necessary decision after the results,” he said.

Meanwhile, EWN reported that a team of experts from South Africa was setting up a mobile diagnostic Ebola laboratory in Sierra Leone. The group said the best way to stop the virus was to start by confirming who had been infected and then containing it.

So far it has killed over 1 000 people and infected many more.

Sierra Leone’s fight in treating the virus was dealt a blow when Sheik Umar Khan, who was credited with treating more than 100 patients, died. His death highlights the dangers health workers face.

Despite this, the South African doctors have established their mobile offices and will begin their mission with a security briefing while they wait for their equipment, tents and gear to arrive.

Professor Janusz Paweska, head of the special pathogens department at the NICD, said the team would wear full face masks, suits, gloves and other special clothing to ensure they didn’t contract the virus.

“It’s definitely not an easy time for our families. Most of our staff members have children.

“But we believe we’re well trained.”

He said the team would conduct tests on suspected Ebola patients to confirm the number of people who had the virus.

The Star

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