1996 - Ebola haemorrhagic fever in South Africa - Update
22 November 1996
Disease Outbreak Reported
A media statement by the Department of Health on 21 November informs that routine monitoring of all people known to have been exposed at some level of risk to the two Ebola fever patients treated in Johannesburg is continuing. No additional cases of Ebola fever have been confirmed but monitoring will continue at a meticulous level until the last contact clears the 21-day incubation period. The nurse who became infected while caring for an Ebola patient from Gabon is still in a serious but stable condition.
All contacts undergo twice-daily checks at the hospitals where they are employed. This includes taking of temperatures and checking by a health worker. A contact with raised temperature who reports a headache or feeling generally unwell will be referred for clinical examination and blood test. In some cases contacts had been admitted to the hospital at Rietfontein for a brief stay, while other contacts are monitored on an outpatient basis.
A total of 41 people have been removed from the monitoring list because the incubation period has elapsed. The number of contacts on the list fluctuates because names are sometimes added, especially as a result of new staff coming on shift to care for the hospitalized nurse.