By Yonas Abiye
Family, friends freed from quarantine
The Ministry of Health confirmed that laboratory tests results of an Ethiopian patient suspected to have been suffering from Ebola and died on Wednesday was not infected by the deadly virus. The latest test was carried out by the South Africa-based National Institute for Communicable Disease (NICD).
The patient, who recently returned from Sierra Leone, one of the worst-hit West African countries, was quarantined following his arrival at the Bole International Airport two weeks ago after showing Ebola-like symptoms.
However, Ethiopian health minister Keseteberhan Admassu (MD) on Thursday dismissed speculation the patient had died of Ebola, saying tests had confirmed he was not infected with the virus.
“Our medical teams’ diagnostic tests have confirmed that the man was suffering of malaria. His condition, however, didn’t improve and subsequently [he] died of the disease,” Keseteberhan told journalists.
The deceased, Anbessaw Belay, was working for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Bo, Sierra Leone as an environmental health specialist and community educator.
The deceased blood sample was sent to NICD in South Africa for further diagnosis to confirm whether his death is related to Ebola or Marburg.
“The result is consistent with the test done in our lab. The incident has helped us test the strength and weakness of our preparedness,” Keseteberhan wrote on his twitter page on Thursday.
He also expressed his appreciation to primary and secondary contacts of the deceased who were isolated for abiding to it despite its shocking nature.
According to the MoH, Anbessaw returned from the West African nation 16 day ago. Upon his return he felt high fever and instantly collapsed after losing self control.
Following the incident, there was growing fear that he might have had several contacts with unidentified number of people including his family members and friends until the health minister declared the NICD’s result.
Families and friends of the deceased were quarantined until they were freed on Friday morning. The family took the body to have it ready for proper burial.
Anbessaw, who was one of the 200 health professionals deployed in West Africa, was particularly engaged in promoting proper hygiene and sanitation practices. He spent much of his professional life working in public health.
According to his profile posted on IRC’s official website, he was one of the many people from around the world working tirelessly to save lives and end Ebola.
“I love working in the community. It’s where you can make a change and a difference,” he was quoted by the IRC as saying.
He has also been identified as one of the heroes and was featured in a multimedia series titled ‘Ebola first responders’.
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