By MOFFAT CHAZINGWA –
KITWE was yesterday gripped with fear and panic as the district recorded a suspected case of Ebola.
This followed the quarantine of a 25-year-old woman, first at Kitwe Central Hospital (KCH)’s fee-paying PAMSCO Clinic on Monday before she was later moved to an isolation centre in Garnetone Township.
The patient, who presented with coughing, sneezing and vomiting, has remained at the established isolation centre in Garnetone where she was being treated of suspected Ebola.
A check by the Times at KCH found PAMSCO services had been relocated to the Out-Patient Department (OPD) One while Garnetone Clinic was closed to members of the public, and other people seeking medical services were referred to a nearby maternity clinic.
Panic-stricken members of the public were heard openly sounding the Ebola alarm warning people not to go near the clinic in view of the quarantined woman.
A number of residents were also spotted making arrangements to have their children who were out in various schools secured from the Ebola threat.
Copperbelt provincial medical officer Consity Mwale and KCH spokesperson Grey Chishimba separately confirmed the suspected Ebola case.
Mr Chishimba said in an interview yesterday that the hospital recorded the suspected Ebola case on Monday around 11:00 hours when the woman was brought to the institution by relatives.
“When she was brought, she was kept in isolation at the PAMSCO and later to Garnetone Clinic where up to today she is quarantined and is being treated symptomatically until such a time when the results of the samples are out,” Mr Chishimba said.
He said the PAMSCO was closed on Monday following the suspected Ebola but was opened yesterday after being disinfected.
Dr Mwale said in a statement that the Kitwe District medical office was on Monday notified by the KCH PAMSCO Clinic that there was a suspected case of Ebola.
He said a surveillance officer from the provincial medical office accompanied the team from the district medical office to assess the situation and take appropriate measures.
Dr Mwale said the patient was a 25-year-old female of Kitwe District and that her husband was a Congolese who often travelled to the DRC but that he had not reported any positive contact history.
“As reported, the patient presented with cough, sneezing and vomiting. These signs and symptoms had commenced a month ago, an indication that this is unlikely to be Ebola. The patient did not complain of fever and had not been in contact with an Ebola patient or had any history of travel,” Dr Mwale said.
Dr Mwale said notwithstanding, the health authorities took action, that included transferring the patient from KCH to an isolation centre at Garnetone Clinic where antibiotics, fluids and other supportive treatment were administered.
He said disinfection using pynol was done in the ambulance and areas where the patient was placed in.
Dr Mwale said contact tracing was done at the home of the patient and that no similar cases were reported.
The patient’s condition was by Press time stable and had shown remarkable sign of improvement.