Medical experts dispatched to Gobabis for relief duties

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Petrus Muronga

Windhoek-A team of medical personnel has been dispatched to Gobabis State Hospital for relief duties while the Gobabis doctor and four nurses are still under isolation at the town’s hospital isolation unit, after coming into contact with a person who died of Congo fever without protection last week.

A team comprising of two doctors, two nurses and two drivers from Katutura Hospital was sent to Gobabis last week Friday.

Updating the media on the virus (Congo fever) yesterday, the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernhard Haufiku, said apart from the medical personnel dispatched to Gobabis, additional vehicles and personnel protective equipment packs were also availed.

Haufiku said all stakeholders have been consulted, especially the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, represented by the regional veterinarian, who are working closely with the health team to ensure an effective operation.

He added that leadership at the ministerial level is being updated twice a day on the situation from people on the ground.

‘‘At least twice daily, updates are transmitted from teams on the ground to the ministerial leadership,’’ said Haufiku.

The health personnel are in isolation after they came into contact with a 26-year-old man, who died of Congo fever formally known as Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHFV) virus last week Monday.

Regarding their condition, the minister said the medical personnel under isolation are responding well and they are in good condition.

Meanwhile, it is still unknown if they have contracted the virus since blood results are only expected to be out this week, before Friday.

The medical team will be closely monitored until they are all safe to be released.
“They will be kept in isolation for another few days and closely monitored until there are absolutely no doubts as to their status,” said Haufiku.

Apart from the medical staff under isolation in Gobabis, four people are also under isolation at the Windhoek Central Hospital after they were transferred from Gobabis on Friday last week.

According to the minister, general blood tests were done on all the people under isolation and their temperature is being closely monitored, with readings taken twice daily.

In addition, it has been established that the Congo fever case that was reported last week was not the first in Namibia, as the first case was reported in 1989.

CCHFV infections mainly occurred in the eastern half of the country. Three of the cases occurred in 1986, one in 1998 and two in 2001, which indicates that CCHFV occurs in Namibia once in every five years.

Four of the cases came from known tick bites with a 50 percent survival rate.

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