Zimbabwe, along with other Southern African Development Community countries, has adopted measures to protect against Ebola that are in accordance with World Health Organisation guidelines.
There has been no prior outbreak of Ebola in the country and as at end October 2014 no cases have been confirmed in Zimbabwe.
For this reason the national approach is to ensure prompt detection of an Ebola case starting with travel history to Zimbabwe from the Ebola affected countries. Therefore, Incoming visitors are being screened at Zimbabwe’s international airports and border posts. Infrared thermal cameras, and hand held laser thermometers, rather than contact thermometers are being used to detect fever and sickness at these said "Ebola high risk areas”; arrivals are also made to fill out questionnaires to enable the local teams of health workers to follow them up.
A 21-day monitoring programme is in place for any visitors that have arrived in Zimbabwe from Ebola reporting countries, with/without possible symptoms of the virus. The visitors must report to the health facility if any symptoms, while the health workers visit them once a week till the 21 days of follow up or surveillance are completed.
In addition, the National Rapid Response Team has designated 5 Ebola care and management centers, the largest of which is the Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital run by the City of Harare health services. The others are Thornigrove Infectious Diseases Hospital, Gweru Infectious Diseases Hospital, Hwange Colliary Hospital and the IOM facility in Beitbridge. Any suspected cases of Ebola identified countrywide will be transferred there, using agreed referral mechanisms. The National response team has trained doctors, nurses, environmental, health promotion and other professionals in public and private Health practice on dealing with Ebola.
What is Ebola?
Ebola is a highly contagious viral disease that can kill up to 90% of those infected
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If you have any questions or suspect an ebola case, you can call any of the following numbers Dr I Phiri (Deputy Director Communicable Diseases) -0772810580
Dr P Manangazira (Director Epidemiology & Disease Control)-0772711060
WHAT IS EBOLA?
Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in
Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter
occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
The current outbreak in west Africa, (first cases notified in March 2014), is the
largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the Ebola virus was first discovered
in 1976. There have been more cases and deaths in this outbreak than all others
combined. It has also spread between countries starting in Guinea then spreading
across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia, by air (1 traveller only) to
Nigeria, and by land (1 traveller) to Senegal.
The most severely affected countries, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have very
weak health systems, lacking human and infrastructural resources, having only
recently emerged from long periods of conflict and instability. On August 8, the WHO
Director-General declared this outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International
A separate, unrelated Ebola outbreak began in Boende, Equateur, an isolated part of
the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The virus family Filoviridae includes 3 genera: Cuevavirus, Marburgvirus, and
Ebolavirus. There are 5 species that have been identified: Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan,
Reston and Taï Forest. The first 3, Bundibugyo ebolavirus, Zaire ebolavirus, and
Sudan ebolavirus have been associated with large outbreaks in Africa. The virus
causing the 2014 west African outbreak belongs to the Zaire species.
Ebola is a highly contagious viral disease that can kill up to 90% of those infected by the virus.
HOW IT IS SPREAD
It is spread through direct contact with blood or body fluids/secretions of infected people or animals
Or by eating infected animal meat/(gorillas, monkeys, baboons, porcupines, fruit bats)
Contact with contaminated formites or clothes of those infected
Men who are infected and recover can transmit the virus in their semen for up to seven (7) weeks after recovery through sexual intercourse
WHO IS AT RISK?
Cross boarder travellers who travel to infected areas. Those who recently visited Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria or DRC
People who handle or come in contact with infected animals sush as monkeys, gorillas, porcupines, antelopes, or fruit bats
Health care workers and/or care givers who managed and Ebola patient
Symptoms can start showing from two (2) days to twenty one (21) days following exposure to the virus