Infectious Diseases

Updated 30 July 2014

How the Western Cape has prepared for Ebola

If you live in the Western Cape and become infected with the Ebola virus - or know someone who is infected, Tygerberg Hospital is at the ready to look after you.

With the outbreak showing no signs of easing in west Africa, and the rest of the continent on tenterhooks, Health24 is investigating preparedness in the different provinces in South Africa. 

Should you present with symptoms of Ebola, or if someone you know does, and you live in the Western Cape here's what you need to know:

Tygerberg Hospital is dedicated to contain the Ebola virus, should there be an outbreak here, in conjunction with Communicable Disease Control, Port Health Services, ACCSA and Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

The dedicated hospital will be able to detect and manage suspected cases. Blood samples from suspected Ebola patients will be send to the NICD (National Institute for Communicable Diseases and National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) for testing.

A national and provincial alert was issued in April 2014 to ensure that Port Health and healthcare workers are able to detect suspected Ebola haemorrhagic cases.

The risk of Ebola haemorrhagic fever cases being imported into South Africa is low, however surveillance for viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHF) must be ensured.

Ebola virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected persons. A detailed travel history and level of contact with suspected / confirmed Ebola haemorrhagic fever cases is imperative.

A provincial alert circular was issued in April 2014 on the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in West Africa indicating the risk of imported cases, case definition and reporting of suspected cases.

Read: Health workers in SA told to be on the alert for symptoms of Ebola in patients

Tygerberg Hospital (identified as the dedicated hospital for treatment of a suspected case) and other dedicated hospitals in the country ensures their readiness for the management of a suspected case/s.

The dedicated hospital for treatment of a suspected viral haemorrhagic fever case (e.g. Ebola) is Tygerberg Hospital.

Suspected VHF cases seen at other hospitals in the Western Cape will be managed and treated in consultation with the Infectious Disease Specialist / VHF consultant at Tygerberg Hospital.

The department has Infectious Disease Specialists at Tygerberg and Groote Schuur Hospitals that are equipped to manage and treat suspected viral haemorrhagic fever cases.

The Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, commented that the Western Cape Department of Health is aware of the Ebola situation and a plan is in place to manage such an outbreak.

Read more:

South African woman fleeing Sierra Leone gives a first-hand account of the situation on the ground
Could Ebola hit South Africa?
Stay up to date with the latest developments in the Ebola outbreak


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