SA Ebola team facing challenges in W.Africa

The four-member team from the NICD has set up a diagnostic lab in Sierra Leone.

FILE: An agent of the national public health institute poses with a thermometer at the airport in Abidjan on 12 August, 2014. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African team deployed to help West African countries control the outbreak of Ebola say they have been faced with a number of challenges since their arrival.

Problems include power and water cuts.

The four-member team from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases has now set up its diagnostic lab in Sierra Leone.

Over 1,350 people have already died from the virus.

Professor Janusz Paweska, head of the special pathogens department at the institute, says there isn't enough staff or doctors.

He says some hospitals are even closing their doors while more people are being diagnosed with the deadly virus.

The professor says although the movement of infected people is now being controlled, it's difficult to control the movement of people altogether.

An emergency generator has been brought in from South Africa.

At the same time, one of three African doctors infected with Ebola and treated with the experimental drug ZMapp died in Monrovia, Liberia's Information Minister Lewis Brown said on Monday.

Asked to confirm the death of doctor Abraham Borbor, Brown said, "That is correct. He died yesterday."


The Democratic Republic of Congo declared an Ebola outbreak in its northern Equateur province on Sunday after two of eight patients tested for the virus came back positive, Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday it has sent protective equipment for medical staff to the country, where authorities have confirmed two cases of Ebola in a remote area.

"The ministry of health has declared an outbreak and we are treating it as such," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told Reuters in Geneva in response to a query.

Additional reporting by Reuters