Johannesburg – The Ministry of Health and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) say the male patient admitted to the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg, has tested negative for the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

On Sunday, a 37-year-old man, who arrived in the country from Liberia over a week ago, was admitted for tests related to Ebola.

The male Health and Safety Officer, who visited South Africa while on leave, worked in a mining operation in Liberia.

The Department of Health said at the weekend that he had been scanned as normal routine in accordance with screening protocols for incoming travellers at the O.R Tambo International Airport. He was healthy on arrival and the scanner revealed no problem nor raised temperature.

However, he consulted his General Practitioner (GP) because he had a fever on Saturday, and his GP contacted the NICD to discuss his condition as a form of protocol issued to all private and public practitioners and health facilities.

Based on the results of the initial blood tests, the decision was made to continue to monitor the patient at home and to repeat the blood tests on Sunday.

However, the patient’s temperature increased and he had to be admitted at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital for further assessment and investigations.

On Monday, the Health Ministry and NICD said the condition of the patient was stable and the results of the EVD tests were negative.

“We have also conducted tests for Malaria and the results are also negative. We are busy conducting further tests for other infections and continue with our appropriate management of the patient,” said a joint statement.

The statement added that there were a number of measures put in place to maintain vigilance for the EVD. “South Africans should rest assured that our surveillance is strengthened.”

Last week, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi dismissed claims that EVD had arrived in South Africa after claims that a women from Guinea, who went into labour at the Rahima Moosa Hospital, west of Johannesburg, had contracted the disease.

According to the World Health Organisation, 1 145 deaths have been recorded in West Africa since March.

An NICD team has arrived in Sierra Leone to assist in containing the EVD in that region. The team has all the necessary equipment.

Signs and symptoms

EVD is a severe acute viral illness often characterised by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.

This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.