The government of Zimbabwe says the biggest concern in its efforts to contain the spread of Ebola is anchored on the fact that the incubation period for the virus is 21 days, thus making it difficult to verify infection at entry points.
The revelations were made by Minister of Health and Childcare, Dr David Parirenyatwa who was responding to a question by MDC-T Legislator, Dr Ruth Labode.
Dr Labode, who is also the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health Chairperson, wanted the minister to give an update in the house on the spread of Ebola worldwide and the mitigation strategies that the regional bloc, SADC has put in place.
Dr Parirenyatwa explained that while the Ebola situation is under control in the SADC region with the exception of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern part, the situation is complicated by the virus’s 21 day incubation period.
“It becomes difficult to detect infection if an individual comes through any port of entry even though they are affected,” he said.
The Ebola virus has raised a global alert and Zimbabwe has put up screening mechanisms at ports of entry though there are reservations that they are not tight enough and more needs to be done.
To date, the epidemic has claimed close to 3 000 in West Africa.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the figures showed a staggering spike of nearly 200 new deaths recorded in one day.
According to the WHO, West Africa now has 4 293 total cases of confirmed, probable and suspected Ebola infections, a number that could rise as high as 20 000, the organisation has warned.