NCID denies KZN Ebola claim
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Durban - The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) denied a claim on Thursday that a South African man has contracted Ebola.
“This is not correct. A South African man who worked as a fleet manager in Sierra Leone got anxious (upon his return), and was referred to Addington Hospital (in Durban),” NICD public health, surveillance, and response head Lucille Blumberg said.
“In fact, he did not go (to the hospital), as he did not fulfil what we call a 'suspect for Ebola'. There was no indication - he never had a risk and there was no suspected case.”
On Thursday The Mercury newspaper and IOL reported that a suspected Ebola case had Addington Hospital on red alert on Wednesday as staff scrambled into protective gear and closed off entrances and wards to ready the facility to treat the incoming patient. [Read the story here: KZN hospital on alert for Ebola virus]
According to the report, on Wednesday night Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo confirmed a patient had been brought to the hospital to be tested for the virus.
When asked if a blood sample had been taken because there was a suspicion of Ebola, Dhlomo would only say: “Yebo.” If it was confirmed as Ebola he would send a report to the national minister of health.
The MEC would not comment on where the man was from, what symptoms he had or how he could have contracted the virus.
On Wednesday a number of Addington staff contacted The Mercury to say they had been told that the patient was a man who had recently returned from Sierra Leone.
He was brought to Durban because the provincial Health Department had designated Addington as the only hospital in the province to deal with Ebola patients.
As government officials on Thursday morning went into defensive mode after the panic caused at Addington Hospital, the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) hit out at authorities for their poor handling of the situation.
Michelle Connolly, the national spokeswoman for Hospersa, said nursing staff and other senior staff members at Addington Hospital had reported their concerns to the union.
Connolly said regardless of whether the patient had tested positive or not, the manner in which the hospital - believed to be the designated institution in Durban to deal with such outbreaks - had dealt with the matter showed that they were “not fully prepared for Ebola”.
“That is our biggest concern and that is why our members are panicking,” she said.
IOL and Sapa