Ebola Scare Forces Wilkins Closure

The Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa has urged health personnel and the general public not to panic after a suspected Ebola patient was admitted at the Wilkins Hospital in Harare.

The patient was however diagnosed for malaria but the hospital was closed on Wednesday night.

All the patients who were admitted at Wilkins Hospital which has been designated as the Ebola Detention Centre for Harare were transferred to Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital.

The alarm was raised after a Congolese student studying at the Harare Polytechnic College was suspected of having the Ebola virus and was brought in from Parirenyatwa Hospital on Wednesday night.

The student is from Lubumbashi in DRC, which is almost 3000 kilometers from the area where Ebola has been confirmed.

She came into the country three weeks ago but she started vomiting and complaining of body weakness on Wednesday.

The government has since confirmed the suspected case has tested positive for malaria and the patient is responding well to treatment.

A rapid test for Malaria was conducted which tested positive.

Harare City Health Director, Dr Prosper Chonzi said further tests have also been conducted which have since tested negative for Ebola, while some specimen have been forwarded to South Africa for further tests.

The staff attending the patient had to wear the personal protective kits while the wards had to be sprayed.

The main gate at the hospital has been locked to restrict access into the premises and Dr Chonzi said this is in line with procedures stipulated in the Ebola Action Plan.  

Again on Wednesday, another suspected case of Ebola also caused alarm at Harare Hospital but the case also turned out to be just a false alarm.

Authorities at Harare Hospital have since embarked on an awareness campaign targeting both the workers and the public.

In a bid to stop the spread of the disease, government is putting people from the affected countries on 21 day surveillance.