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Govt: SA takes stringent measures against Ebola

By: News24 and AFP 2014-07-31 10:48

Pretoria - The South African government has taken stringent measures to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola disease in the country.

This comes as fears grow that the outbreak of the disease currently happening in west Africa could spread to other continents.

European and Asian countries are on alert and a leading medical charity warned the epidemic was out of control.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the crisis gripping Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone would only get worse and warned there was no overarching strategy to handle the world's worst outbreak of the disease.

Highly infectious Ebola has been blamed for 672 deaths in the West Africa nations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization.

But South Africa’s department of health said citizens need not panic as all precautions are being taken to prevent its spread.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the department is closely monitoring the situation in West Africa and has taken the necessary steps to detect and treat cases if they arrive in the country.

OR Tambo International Airport and Lanseria Airport have thermal scanners that detect travellers with raised temperatures. These travellers, when identified, are assessed at the medical facilities at these airports.

"Our surveillance activities are extremely effective," said Minister Motsoaledi.

Minister Motsoaledi said the National Health Laboratory Services and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) have also intensified their surveillance.

The ministry had met with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in April to discuss a plan of action.

An alert was sent out following the first report of the outbreak in Guinea.

The alert emphasised that all port health officials should be aware of the EVD outbreak and look out for travellers with signs and symptoms of Ebola.

 “Outbreak response teams were alerted to be prepared to respond in the event a suspected case was identified in the country,” said the department.

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