HEALTH officials in Victoria Falls yesterday said they were on high alert and have increased their surveillance and screening teams at the border post to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI

Surveillance teams have been posted to Victoria Falls to stop the spread of Ebola virus from DRC

The tightening of security comes after last week’s declaration by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that the deadly viral disease that claimed at least 33 people’s lives in the DRC since May was spreading.

In a statement last week, WHO said it had already deployed one of its two viral hemorrhagic fever personal protective equipment kits and other medical equipment to the affected parts of DRC.

Victoria Falls Municipality’s senior health officer, Tongai Ncube said surveillance teams had been posted at Victoria Falls, Pandamatenga and Kazungula border posts.

“I can appreciate that we are on high alert on Ebola judging by it being a very infectious disease. It can spread quickly and at an exponential rate. As a town whose geographical location has got some relationship in one way or the other with the DRC and Zambian truck drivers, our main interest now is to increase surveillance,”he said.

“At ports of entry we have health officers provided by the government that have been deployed in large numbers. They have been activated to be on the watch out for symptoms of Ebola and in the event that one traveller is exhibiting those, they quickly alert authorities and we detain the person,” he said. Ncube said in the event, a case is reported; the taskforce’s rapid response teams would be immediately called in to intervene.

“Because it is highly infectiousness, we have a separate infectious disease control premise that was donated by Hwange Colliery Company Limited designated to quarantine those patients because they cannot be treated in town. But for now, we have not picked any Ebola case.”

The Ebola outbreak in the DRC was confirmed in May and since then many cases have been confirmed.