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Zim hospital closed to monitor suspected Ebola case

10 October 2014, 08:15

Harare - Health authorities shut down a hospital in the Zimbabwean capital on Thursday to isolate a patient who is being tested for Ebola, an official said.

Other patients in the 35-bed Wilkins Hospital had been transferred to alternative health facilities, Prosper Chonzi, the Harare municipality's director for health services, told AFP.

"We cannot mix patients as you know and you really want trained medical people to monitor the patient," he said.

Chonzi said specimens taken from the female patient, whose nationality and identity were not disclosed, had been sent to a laboratory in neighbouring South Africa.

"We are yet to get the results but it's unlikely that it will be Ebola," Chonzi said.

The Ebola outbreak has killed nearly 3 900 people so far this year, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Zimbabwe has not recorded any cases and health authorities are testing incoming travellers at airports. No details were disclosed on whether the woman had travelled to west Africa.

A special isolation unit was set up at the Harare hospital where the suspected patient is under observation and health workers were said to be trained in how to deal with the disease.

Ebola is transmitted by close contact with the bodily fluids of a person who is showing symptoms of infection such as fever, aches, vomiting and diarrhoea, or who has recently died of the virus.

Zimbabwe's health sector has been battling to recover after years of neglect in the past decade as the country reels under political and economic crises.

A cholera outbreak in 2008 killed 4 000 people.



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