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Ebola alert: no unnecessary handshakes

By STEVEN MVULA and CHAMBO NG’UNI
THE Ministry of Health has advised the public against unnecessary handshakes in the wake of an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.
Ministry of Health acting spokesperson Denis Mulenga said in a statement yesterday that although Zambia has not recorded any outbreak of Ebola, Government has remained vigilant and put in place stringent measures.
The disease has so far claimed 1,300 lives in Liberia, Nigeria, Serra-Leone and Guinea.
“People must avoid unnecessary physical contact and must always wash hands with soap before eating any food,” Dr Mulenga said.
He said Government has put in place necessary precautions and continued to monitor the situation.
“People do not need to panic. The Ministry of Health has put measures in place and the country has the capacity to handle the Edola virus through the University of Zambia School of Veterinary Medicine,” Dr Mulenga said.
He further said Government has bought protective gear which is being distributed countrywide.
These include rubber boots, rubber gloves, rubber hoods, water tight and airproof suits.
And Central Province has been put on high Ebola alert because it among the provinces sharing a border with  the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The first case of Ebola was recorded in DRC in 1976.
In 2012, the DRC recorded 36 deaths from Ebola in the country’s Orientale Province that lies in the northeast of the country on the border with Uganda, South Sudan and Central Africa Republic.
“Furthermore, Central Province is the nexus of all routes into Zambia, hence this sets us apart from other provinces and requires us to be innovative in the manner in which we should be prepared,” Ms Mutale said.
Central Province chief medical officer Rosemary Mwanza appealed to people in the region not to panic because there is no case of Ebola.

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