A South African woman in transit through Nigeria has been isolated by officials after reporting vomiting and diarrhea on her health questionnaire required to enter the country. Reuters is reporting that the woman has been working in Sierra Leone and Guinea since April this year and was en route back to South Africa.
The Nigerian port authorities are taking the incident seriously since the South African national had been working in high risk areas. Although the symptoms are shared with many other common diseases in Africa, it is important to rule out Ebola before allowing the woman to continue her travels home.
In several suspected cases this week the results after testing for the virus have been negative, however, in this case where the individual was working in outbreak zones the fear is amplified. Nigerian officials have indicated that testing would take several days. The Italian case this week had results within 24 hours, however, testing facilities may currently be under pressure with potential backlogs from suspected cases currently awaiting confirmation of diagnosis.
Several possible cases are being reported per day outside of the high risk zones and have to date all been false alarms. Despite this it is still important for port authorities to continue their prudent behavior in an effort to prevent further spread of the lethal disease.
The identity of the Cape Town resident is being kept secret for the time being and the South African government is yet to comment on the incident. While this is not the first suspected case involving a South African citizen it is already making news around the world.
Update: The South African has tested negative for the Ebola virus