Two people hospitalized at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) has started a flurry of rumors concerning the presence of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) on the Caribbean island of Barbados. However, on Monday, the Ministry of Health came out and stated, “Any rumor of an Ebola case in Barbados is untrue”, according to the Barbados Government Information Service.
According to Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John, the Ministry can confirm that two persons who presented at the QEH with fever have tested positive for malaria.
The QEH has the capability for making such diagnoses. She added that neither of the persons has a travel history to the countries in West Africa where the Ebola outbreak is on-going or has had contact with any persons who have Ebola. However, the health ministry does not say what the travel history is for the two patients.
The Barbados Health Ministry, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Health Protection Scotland all say that malaria is not an endemic disease in Barbados. So it must have been contracted via international travel.
The confusion between Ebola and malaria is not an uncommon one. Of the numerous “Ebola false alarms” reported this year, the vast majority were due to malaria. This is because the early symptoms of the two diseases overlap and are very general.
The two malaria patients are currently admitted at the QEH and are receiving treatment.
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