Cape Town - SADC health ministers are holding a two-day meeting in Zimbabwe to hammer out a regional strategy to deal with the Ebola epidemic following confirmed cases of the virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to The Herald, chairperson of the SADC health ministers forum David Parirenyatwa said the meeting would deliberate on how countries were managing the Ebola outbreak.
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DRC confirmed early this week that the killer virus had killed up to 36 people out of 81 suspected cases.
Parirenyatwa said SADC, unlike West Africa where the disease caught them unaware, had an opportunity to strengthen its preparedness should the virus hit the region.
The preparedness of southern Africa to deal with the Ebola virus has remained on the spotlight, especially after Zimbabwe admitted recently that it was not well equipped to deal with an outbreak of the disease.
Zimbabwe said it had no capacity to conduct tests to detect the deadly disease, saying specimens from suspected cases of Ebola would be referred to South African laboratories for verification.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed 1 900 people, and officials warn that time is running out to control it, according to reports.
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The disease was first identified in DRC, then called Zaire, in 1976 in the north near the Ebola river, which gave the virus its name.
The disease causes massive haemorrhaging and has a fatality rate of up to 90%. It is transmitted through contact with blood and other bodily fluids.
There is no vaccine for Ebola.