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Cape Ebola scare a false alarm

Cape Town - An Ebola scare in Cape Town this week was a false alarm caused by incorrect information from an unverified source, the city and the provincial health department have said.

This follows reports of an Ebola case in Cape Town, which started to circulate on e-mail and Twitter on Thursday.

The African Union held a ceremony to send off the 250 Nigerians trained by the continental bloc to treat Ebola. Picture: Sunday Alamba. Credit: Associated Press

“Apparently there’s someone being quarantined in Retreat hospital/clinic for Ebola,” tweeted one user.

An e-mail saying that Retreat Day Hospital “has been quarantined for Ebola” also did the rounds.

Although it is true that any suspected Ebola patients must be kept apart from other patients, city manager Priya Reddy was adamant on Friday that the contents of the e-mail were false – even though it had, at first, been sent out by a city official.

“He acted too hastily and sent out the communication to internal staff only, without confirming its accuracy,” Reddy said.

”The city apologises.”

The Weekend Argus understands that a female patient with a high fever may have caused the scare.

Hélène Rossouw, spokeswoman for Health MEC Theuns Botha, said that according to her information, the Day Hospital in Retreat had not been closed on Wednesday, and no patient had been quarantined.

Ebola, which has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent, has killed 932 people in four west African countries.

According to the provincial government, a plan is in place to rapidly isolate suspected Ebola cases.

The dedicated hospital for treating the disease is Tygerberg Hospital, but infectious disease specialists are also on hand at Groote Schuur Hospital.

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