City apologises for bogus Ebola case

An email circulated by a city official claimed a person had been diagnosed with the virus.

FILE: A member of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) puts on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town says despite an email making the rounds of a suspected Ebola case in Retreat on the Cape Flats, there are no reported Ebola cases in the city.

An email sent by a city official claimed a person had been diagnosed with the virus at Retreat Day Hospital.

The city has however confirmed the information was incorrect and the patient in question has not been infected with the virus.

The city's Priya Reddy says "The communication was sent out in error and released on unconfirmed information that was relayed to one of our officials."

She says the city apologises for any inconvenience or affects the communication might have caused.

The World Health Organization has confirmed 932 people have died from Ebola in West Africa since March.

Meanwhile, Stellenbosch University virology expert Wolfgang Preiser says he will rather be safe than sorry when it comes to investigating suspected cases of Ebola.

The university's Centre for Infectious Diseases held a symposium on Ebola today.

Preiser says although they have seen a number of suspected Ebola cases, fortunately they were all negative.

He says they treat every case with the utmost concern.

In the event of an Ebola case, Tygerberg Hospital has four beds available in their isolation unit.

SA STEPS UP EBOLA FIGHT

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced on Wednesday that South Africa will send a mobile lab to West Africa to bolster treatment in countries affected by the epidemic.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) health ministers met to discuss the outbreak of the deadly virus and agreed that urgent preventative measures must be put in place to protect the region.

The health ministers in the SADC region confirmed there has not been an outbreak of Ebola but have warned people to be vigilant.

The ministers said there will be increased cross-border collaboration to ensure the virus is controlled.

Health departments in the region will also strengthen surveillance for early detection of Ebola and stop it from spreading.

A fund will also be established to assist SADC countries if necessary.

There will also be an increase in the training of community health workers on how best to treat patients with Ebola.

The army blockaded rural areas hit by the deadly Ebola virus in Sierra Leone on Thursday, a senior officer said, after neighbouring Liberia declared a state of emergency to tackle the worst outbreak of the disease, which has killed 932 people.

In Geneva, World Health Organisation experts were due to hold a second day of meetings to agree on emergency measures to tackle the highly contagious virus and whether to declare an international public health emergency.