Suspected Ebola patient has tested negative – Minister

Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya says his ministry has not recorded any Ebola cases and tests on the man admitted at Levy Mwanawasa Hospital have ruled out the viral disease.

Addressing the media in Lusaka today, Chilufya said the Serenje man who was suspected to be suffering from Ebola was found with a blood disease which has Ebola-like symptoms.

“Yesterday, it was reported in some social media that a suspected EVD case was admitted to the Levy Mwanawasa Teaching Hospital (LMTH) and this has caused panic and anxiety amongst members of the public. May I take this opportunity to inform the public that contrary to the news circulating in the social media there is no case of EVD in Zambia. Allow me to make a clarification and update you on the patient currently admitted to LMTH. The patient is a 41 year old male who is a resident of Serenje District who came to Lusaka for a church camp meeting on 27th August 2018. He was already of ill health on travel. He presented with fever, discoloration of the skin resulting from bleeding underneath the skin and red patching in the white of the eye among other symptoms was immediately admitted and quarantined to rule out EVD.
On further investigation, our health workers made a tentative diagnosis of septicemia, a condition of blood infection with bacteria or other microorganisms. Further to that our laboratory investigations conducted at the University Of Zambia School Of Veterinary Medicine has ruled out Ebola Virus Disease,” Dr Chilufya said.

“There is no Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) case in Zambia. As you are aware, there is an EVD outbreak ongoing in DRC. According to the latest DRC Ministry of Health situation report issued on September 3, 2018, a cumulative 122 (confirmed 91 and probable 31) with 82 deaths (confirmed 51; probable 31) indicating a Case Fatality Rate (CFR) 66.4 per cent from North Kivu and Ituri Province have been recorded. Eight new cases are currently under admission with 3 pending laboratory confirmation. According to their reports, the outbreak is probably exacerbated by sporadic instances of high risk behaviour, including unsafe burial practices, reluctance towards contact tracing, vaccination and admissions to Ebola Treatment Centers (ETCs), poor Infection Control Practices in some health centres and delayed health seeking behaviour by some patients.”

And Dr Chilufya said the Health Ministry had intensified surveillance systems and embarked on a training exercise of seven health personnel in the district to ensure that suspected cases are treated with the urgency they deserve.

“My Ministry remains on high alert and continues to improve the detection and response capacities in the country through training of responders and equipping health facilities with requirements to respond…As I speak, seven member rapid response teams per district in North-Western Province are being trained in Solwezi to be followed by training on the Copperbelt. Prior to this training, other district teams have been trained in Northern and Luapula provinces considering their proximity to the DRC,” said Dr Chilufya.

         

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