The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa – What is South Africa doing?

This week the Portfolio of Health was briefed by Minister of Health on actions being taken and the National preparation plans already actioned and implemented.

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa was first reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the 23rd of March 2014. Currently, the scale of the outbreak is unprecedented and has not been brought under control, with the three most affected countries being Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia reporting new cases and deaths. In total, 1 975 cases including 1 069 deaths, have been reported during this outbreak (as at 14 August 2014).

To date, 10 cases of imported EVD has been reported in Nigeria, 4 resulting in death. There have been no cases of EVD in South Africa associated with this outbreak and there are no suspected cases of EVD at present.

The National and Provisional Department of Health have put various measures in place to ensure awareness and readiness in the event of an imported an EVD case.

  • The various Departments of Health have issued an alert on the EVD outbreak in West Africa in March 2014.
  • Regular updates from the National Department of Health and the NICD are distributed on an ongoing basis throughout SA.
  • The National guidelines for recognition and management of viral haemorrhagic fevers have been distributed.
  • The sub-directorate Communicable Disease Control convened a multi-discipline and sectoral EVD preparedness meetings are being held throughout SA.

So we as citizens can rest assured that our Health departments are on alert and ready to deal with any potential EVD outbreak in SA. The risk for us is low but it is comforting to know we are ready and prepared.

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