Health department geared to prevent Ebola from reaching SA

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SABRINA DEAN – The national health department is currently sensitizing outbreak response teams, as well as informing public and private stakeholders, following confirmation of an outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Guinea in West Africa.

Miniser Aaron Motsoaledi said in a statement the department is on high alert but added there is no need to panic as South Africa’s surveillance activities are extremely effective.

He says the department and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases have drafted an alert and case definition. These have been distributed to the Environmental Health Directorate (including Port Health Officials), provinces, the Civil Aviation Authority and other stakeholders.

Spokesperson Joe Maila says the whole world is on alert. “The World health Organisation has suggested we need to make sure we improve on our surveillance to make sure that all sountries are safe,” he says.

The statement reads that Port Health Officials need to be aware of the EVD outbreak and have a high index of suspicion for travelers with symptoms, while health care workers must do the same for patients with a travel history to West Africa.

Maila adds there is definitely no reason for panic. “I want to emphasize that there is no case of Ebola or suspected case of Ebola in South Africa, therefore there is no need to panic,” he says.