A health worker in Goma fills a syringe with the Ebola vaccine before injecting a patient. File picture: Baz Ratner/Reuters

Johannesburg - There is no Ebola in South African and none of the neighbouring countries have asked the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) to test for suspected cases there.

This was the assertion of NICD's Sinenhlanhla Jimoh after panicked  locals took to Twitter to air their concerns following a news report that a Lesotho national who had come into contact with a Congolese national in South Africa had tested positive for the disease.

On Thursday morning, Eyewitness News reported that the Lesotho government had confirmed that a woman had displayed symptoms of the virus after coming into contact with someone from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Later, the website said the country had clarified that the case was, in fact, a simulation exercise.

Jimoh also confirmed that, saying it was just a drill to check if the systems in place were strong enough should there be an outbreak.

The drill, she had, had to be done as per the International Health Regulations.

"What we know is that we are the ones who can test for Ebola in Southern African and so far we have not been requested by neigbouring countries to test suspected cases.

"There are no Ebola cases in South Africa as far as we are concerned," she said.

The  Department of Health has also gone on to reassure South Africans saying chances of Ebola reaching the country were "very slim" because the country's response system are well in place.

According to spokesperson Popo Maja, reports of a person with Ebola crossing to South Africa from Lesotho were not true. 

He said there was an Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) exercise simulation on Wednesday between the borders gates of Ficksburg and Maputsoe.

"That was a first Small Scale Field Simulation Exercise (SSFX) conducted to test the preparedness and response to the Public Health Event of International Concern.  

"Simulation Exercise is one International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) Monitoring Framework components for each Member State is supposed to undertake to test the capacities at the Port of Entry,Infection Prevent and Control, Risk Communication, Coordination, Surveillance, Case Management, Preparedness and Response," he said.

The Star