Tourist to SA turned away by US doctor over Ebola fears

An American man who recently visited only SA says he was turned away by his doctor over fears of Ebola.

FILE: Health workers from IFRC and MSF take part in a pre-deployment training for staff heading to Ebola-affected countries. Picture: EPA.

JOHANNESBURG - An American tourist, who recently visited South Africa, has described his frustration to Eyewitness News after being turned away by his doctor due to fears around Ebola.

Sever Anderson attended a wedding in Vanderbijlpark last month and despite not visiting any West African countries, his doctor in New York refused to see him until he was cleared by a hospital in the United States.

Anderson says he'd been battling to shake off a cold while in South Africa.

"It was just a cold that I actually had before I'd even left to come to South Africa."

Upon returning to New York, he tried to make an appointment with his doctor.

"When I got back I still had the cold. It wasn't as bad, but I thought I would go back to my doctor. But he said: 'Well I can't see you because you've been to Africa.'"

Anderson was then advised to go to a hospital where he would have been quarantined for 24 hours.

"I felt betrayed and almost like I was being discriminated against."

He says he had to self-medicate until his cold cleared and will now think twice before travelling anywhere.

Meanwhile, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has replaced the country's health minister.

It's said to be part of a broader cabinet reshuffle amid widespread criticism of the Liberian government's handling of the Ebola crisis.

Sirleaf says Health Minister Walter Gwenigale will be replaced by George Warner.

Liberia is among three countries in the West African region that have been ravaged by an outbreak of the deadly virus.

According to the latest figures from the World Health Organisation, at least 5,177 people have died in the world's worst recorded Ebola outbreak.

Most of the victims have been in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where already weak healthcare systems have been overrun by victims of the disease.

A total of 570 local health workers have been infected, with 324 dying.