The Ministry of Health (MoH) has dismissed reports that Malawi has registered its first Ebola case after a woman with symptoms similar to the disease was referred to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) on Saturday.
In an interview yesterday, MoH spokesperson Henry Chimbali said the woman, who is eight months pregnant, was referred to QECH from Mwanza District Hospital.
He said the patient was referred to the referral centre because she had symptoms such as fever and skin rash, which are similar to Ebola’s typical signs.
Said Chimbali: “The patient was attended to by one of our doctors at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and because the signs she was showing are similar to Ebola, a Rapid Response Team, which was trained on the infection, was called right away and it established that she does not have Ebola, but rather it is chicken pox.
“The woman is currently being treated as an in-patient at the hospital where she is receiving medical assistance. And because chicken pox is infectious, she has been isolated so that she will not infect others.”
He said more panic and fear might have developed from the fact that the Rapid Response Team was called in; hence, when people saw the team, they concluded that it was Ebola and nothing else.
Chimbali said there is no need to panic and live in unnecessary fear because “when the country registers an Ebola case, we will not hide, we will tell them because it is an issue of national interest.”
Ebola virus disease, sometimes known as EVD, is a highly infectious, usually fatal virus that leads to flu-like symptoms and severe internal bleeding.
The survival rate is very low. Somewhere between 60 percent and 90 percent of the people who develop Ebola die.
Some typical signs and symptoms of the infection are intense weakness, onset of fever, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.