At least, one case of suspected Ebola has been officially recorded at Levy Mwanawasa Hospital in Lusaka.
But Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Administration Dr Kennedy Malama says there is no need for members of the public to panic as preliminary investigations suggest that it is unlikely to be a confirmed case of Ebola.
Hospital sources revealed to News Diggers! that access to the health facility, which is located approximately 12 kilometres from the Capital City’s central business district and about 15 kilometres from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, is restricting visitations while referrals from nearby clinics had been stopped.
The sources added that the suspected cases could be as high as 15, thereby raising fears of spread among health providers as well.
“There is one patient who came from Luapula and was admitted here the other day. The symptoms suggested that this was an Ebola case and immediately the hospital quarantined the patient and started restricting movements within the facility. This morning, there is fear that these cases could be as high as 15, you can imagine. So referrals from Chelstone and Avondale area have been stopped,” revealed the sources.
When contacted, Dr Malama confirmed that the hospital recorded a suspected case of Ebola, but stressed that it was highly unlikely that the final test results would be positive.
He said people wishing to seek medical attention from Levy Mwanawasa Hospital were encouraged to do so as the hospital had been declared safe for visitation after quarantining the patient.
“We are not restricting visitation or going to Levy Hospital to seek health care services. The position is that where this patient has been put, that area has been quarantined and the rest of the hospital is safe,” Dr Malama said in a telephone interview this morning.
“Our preliminary investigation are that this is not Ebola, but as you are aware we need to do further tests just to be 100 per cent sure. But for now, the key message is that there is no need for members of the public to be alarmed or worried. We appreciate all the concerns and messages that have been coming through and we have done everything possible to ensure that the expected investigations are done. Those who would like to seek health services from Levy should proceed as such and they will be attended to.”
He said it was not true that there were as many cases as 15.
“It’s not 15 cases, it’s just one person who came, and as I am saying, our preliminary investigations so far suggest that it is unlikely to be Ebola, so we are just waiting for the final results,” said Dr Malama.
Ebola is a fast-spreading viral disease which causes fatal conditions in human beings and has killed over 50 citizens in nearby Congo Dr.
The time interval from infection with Ebola to the onset of symptoms is 2-21 days, although 8-10 days is most common. Signs and symptoms include: fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite.
Some patients may experience rash, red eyes, hiccups, cough, sore throat, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, difficulty in swallowing, bleeding inside and outside of the body.