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Ebola: what you need to know when travelling or working in Africa

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Image credit: www.afromum.com

In the past six months, Ebola outbreaks have occurred in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, with the death toll continuing to rise. The media has given considerable attention to this recent outbreak over the past few months, leading to a build-up of widespread panic in Africa and even beyond the continent’s borders.

“There are at present no Ebola cases reported in South Africa and there is no need for South Africans travelling to or working in countries that have experienced Ebola outbreaks to be unnecessarily alarmed. Those working in and travelling to impacted areas should however take the necessary precautions to prevent contracting this disease,” says Dr Pete Vincent of Netcare Travel Clinics and Medicross Tokai Family Medical and Dental Centre.

According to Dr Vincent, “The Ebola haemorrhagic fever is a severe, acute viral illness usually characterised by fever, muscle pain, headache, a sore throat and intense weakness. The disease then progresses to diarrhoea, vomiting, a rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and internal and external bleeding, and is often fatal.”

The Ebola virus has been found in both humans and in animals such as bats and primates. You can only contract the virus through exposure to the blood, organs or bodily secretions of infected individuals or animals; the virus cannot be passed on merely by being in the same vicinity as someone with the disease.

Ebola outbreaks are believed to originate from contact with the blood or bodily fluids of infected animals, for example when hunters come into contact with infected dead animals, or when handling the raw meat of infected animals. Once a person in a community contracts the disease, the Ebola virus can spread to other individuals if they have exposure to the blood or bodily fluids of the infected person.

According to Dr Vincent an experimental drug, known as ZMapp, is currently under development and has been dispensed to some severely ill patients in Africa, it is however not generally available. Treatment at this stage is therefore largely limited to supportive therapy. Medical professionals can only manage a patient’s symptoms, through balancing their fluids and electrolytes, maintaining their oxygen status and blood pressure and treating patients for any other infections.

“The risk of infection with the Ebola virus is extremely low, even for travellers visiting areas where cases of Ebola have been reported. This is because contraction of the virus occurs through direct contact with the blood, secretions, bodily fluids or organs of infected individuals or animals (living or dead), which is highly unlikely for the average traveller,” notes Dr Vincent.

“However, although the risks of getting infected with Ebola are very low for travellers, it is still important to take precautions as there is no vaccine or cure for the disease and 50% to 90% of diagnosed Ebola cases are fatal,” he cautions.

Travellers should take note of the following:

  • Practise careful hygiene.
  • Avoid contact with blood and bodily fluids of other persons.
  • Do not touch items that may have come into contact with blood or bodily fluids.
  • Avoid burial rituals, which involve handling the body.
  • Avoid contact with animals or raw meat.
  • Get medical care immediately if you develop fever, a sore throat, headache, a rash, diarrhoea, vomiting, aches, stomach pain or red eyes.
  • Monitor your health after you return from an area with an Ebola outbreak. If you do develop the above symptoms, be sure to inform your doctor about your recent trip and symptoms before you go to the doctor’s rooms or hospital. The doctor will need to take certain precautions to ensure the protection of others.
  • Do not panic if you present with any of these symptoms; remember that the likelihood of you contracting Ebola is very low. Also be aware that the symptoms of Ebola are the same as many other infections, including flu viruses, malaria, dengue fever, typhoid fever and Lassa fever.

“It is also important to note that, after contracting Ebola, it can take up to 21 days to show symptoms of the disease, although 8 to 10 days is more common. Until a person exhibits symptoms, they are not contagious, so you don’t need to be concerned about getting the virus from apparently healthy individuals. There is also low risk of spreading the infection in the early stages of the illness,” adds Dr Vincent.

“Although it cannot be said for certain whether the disease will spread beyond West Africa, measures are in place at many international airports which have direct flights into the region or are major air travel hubs to prevent the spread of the disease. These measures include health screening for symptoms of the disease,” he concludes.

Precautionary safety measures at Netcare

Dr Anchen Laubscher, medical director at Netcare says, “Even though there is no current Ebola outbreak in South Africa, Netcare has developed a set of comprehensive clinical pathways which are routinely used as a precautionary measure by emergency medical personnel, doctors and hospital staff to assess any patient who has been exposed to risk factors associated with viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHFs). These include having travelled to affected or endemic VHF areas within the past 21 days or showing clinical signs which may be related to a VHF.

The clinical pathways, which were developed in consultation with the NICD and were made available to the Department of Health, comprehensively cover the assessment of these patients and their subsequent management. Patients from within Africa who are referred to Netcare hospitals for specialised treatment, for example cardiac treatment, are assessed and managed according to the same clinical pathways”.

Please do not hesitate to contact your nearest Netcare Travel Clinic should you have any queries or questions regarding travel-health related topics. You may also visit our website on www.travelclinic.co.za or email travelinfo@netcare.co.za.

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Art

I heart Market – February Sale Market Saturday 3 February: 9am – 2pm

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February is the month of love and the I heart Market will celebrate with its traditional bi-annual “sale” market on Saturday 3 February from 9am to 2pm at  Northlands Primary School, in Durban North.

Following two busy and packed festive season markets in its new home at Northlands Primary School, which was well received by customers, February’s I heart Market will offer a range of discounted products.

“We were over the moon with the turn for our first markets at Northlands Primary, with a steady stream of customers, and great sales for our traders who are all small business entrepreneurs,” enthuses Manager of the Market, Tanith Molliere. “Our February market is kind of the “January Sales” market with great offers to help those budgets that may have been stretched during the holidays.”

February’s Market promises a magical shopping experience with wares created with love and care by local artisans and small businesses, reflecting a deep commitment to their artistry and craft.  With Valentine’s Day just around the corner – there will also be a gorgeous array of “romantically-inspired” products available.

As always, the market is filled with handmade treasures ranging from fine leather goods, unusual ceramics, exquisite jewellery and accessories, innovative visual art, home decor, plants, clothing, condiments and pickles, cured meats, a delightful selection of delicious baked goods. Of course, the usual mouth-watering array of food truck eats, catering to every palate including vegan and vegetarian.

There is also a secure play area for children between the ages of 1 and 6, with qualified Teacher’s Assistants in attendance available for the morning for those parents who want to take a break to shop or enjoy some delicious food. There is a fee of R100 for the morning or part thereof. A “pram park” is also available for people to leave their prams whilst shopping to help avoid congestion in the hall.

The market is housed in the school hall and surrounding gardens from 9am to 2pm, and takes place rain or shine as most of the traders are under cover.  Parking is available in designated school areas, with security guards to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

For more info contact info@iheartmkt.com.

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East Coast Radio House + Garden Showcases Diverse Crafts and DIY Experiences

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The East Coast Radio House + Garden Show is back, and this year it promises to be a haven for craft enthusiasts and those seeking interactive DIY experiences. Crafting has come a long way from scrapbooking and papier-mâché, we have an incredible line up of specialist crafters that will expand your imagination! With a focus on engaging activities for all, this year’s craft traders will offer a variety of hands-on experiences at their stalls. From crafts for the kiddies to offerings for health and beauty enthusiasts and creative entrepreneurs, visitors can expect an exciting showcase of talent, innovation, and creativity.

Craft for the Kiddies
A Toy for You, distributor of toy brand Melissa & Doug, will be a highlight of the East Coast Radio House + Garden Show. Renowned for their classic wooden toys and realistic pretend play sets, Melissa & Doug products inspire creative thinking through screen-free open-ended play. At the show, visitors will have the opportunity to see and purchase top Melissa & Doug items that are well-crafted and designed to ignite the imagination. The exhibit will also feature a colorful and creative play zone where children can engage with popular toys, such as a wooden kitchen, art easel, and wellness area. Daily themed activities, including sand art and slime workshops, will also be hosted, providing children with countless ways to encourage creativity, imagination, learning, and discovery.

Craft for Health and Beauty Enthusiasts
Alchemists’ Lab offers a unique and new way to experience self-care. With a focus on discovering top-notch, safe, and naturally derived skincare products for diverse skin types, The Alchemists’ Lab sources and develops high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. Visitors to their exhibit will have the opportunity to engage in a live interactive Bath Bomb and Bath Salts Station. Participants can personally tailor their products using premium ingredients, choosing scents, colours, and botanicals to create bath bombs and salts that suit their preferences. This immersive crafting experience allows individuals to unleash their creativity and produce items that bring joy and tangible health benefits. In addition to exclusive show discounts, visitors who tag Alchemists’ Lab on social media will receive a promo code for their online store. Every purchase made at their stall during the House + Garden Show will enter visitors into a giveaway to win an entire range of their products.

Craft for Creative Entrepreneurs
Cricut™, a worldwide phenomenon and pioneer in smart cutting machines, opens doors for small business owners and creative individuals through their user-friendly app and versatile devices. Their cutting-edge technology enables the personalisation of various items, from custom cards to unique apparel. At the East Coast Radio House + Garden Show, the highly anticipated EasyPress 3 will be made available for purchase. This portable heat press combines speed and convenience with the genius of the Cricut Heat™ app. Visitors at the Cricut stand will have the opportunity to participate in a “spin the wheel” activation and win the chance to personalise a mug, water bottle, or t-shirt free of charge. The aim is to inspire creativity through hands-on experiences, ensuring that everyone leaves the Show with a sense of accomplishment and takes home a personalised item they can cherish. Make sure to visit the Cricut stand for daily prize giveaways and stand a chance to win an exciting Business In A Box competition.

“The East Coast Radio House + Garden Show offers a unique platform for craft traders to showcase their talents and engage visitors in exciting DIY experiences. Whether it’s exploring the world of imaginative play, indulging in self-care through customised products, or unlocking creativity for aspiring entrepreneurs, you will find an array of creative exhibitors ready to inspire your inner artist,” shares Cairey Baxter-Bruce, Show Director of the House + Garden Show.

For more information and to stay updated on the latest news about the East Coast Radio House + Garden Show sponsored by Plascon, visit www.housegardenshow.co.za or follow @housegardenshow on Instagram and Facebook.

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Green Corridors LitterBooms Team Urges Action to Combat Plastic Pollution on World Oceans Day (8 June)

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As part of its observance of United Nations World Ocean Day (8 June) Durban-based Green Corridors urges action from citizens to combat plastic pollution as part of its drive to try to reduce the amount of plastic waste flowing into the oceans in our rivers.

World Ocean Day is an observance day set to remind all global citizens of the “major role the oceans have in everyday life. The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.”[1]

1869: Photo by Val Adamson: Jabulani Ngwenya and Sifiso Luvuno – Green Corrirdors Team community members from Johanna Road clear the waste from the litter boom on an Umgeni River tributary.

One of the critical interventions that countries are looking at is how to prevent plastic going into the ocean. Green Corridors, is an NGO that looks after green spaces and supports communities to work with these spaces, has installed 16 litterbooms onto waterways in the eThekwini Municipality to minimize the flow of plastics into the Indian Ocean.

These litterbooms are large plastic pipes that trap floating waste; the waste is collected by local community co-ordinators, and sorted. Plastics that are not able to be recycled are taken to the Green Corridors KwaMashu Materials Beneficiation Centre and through a process combined with other materials are converted into “green” pavers.

Siphiwe Rakgabale: Green Corridors litterboom co-ordinator and director of Tri-Ecomvelo, Siphiwe Rakgabale at a previous SAFRIPOL/Green Corridors beach clean up

Green Corridors’ litterboom co-ordinator, Siphiwe Rakgabale, says, “There is something like 75- 199 million tons of plastic waste floating about in the oceans, mostly flowing into the sea from rivers. This plastic pollution not only endangers marine biodiversity but also contributes to climate change.”

“Last year Green Corridors were able to remove 2 tons of plastic from our 16 litterbooms,” says Rakgabale. “But this is a fragment of what could be captured and redirected. The waste comes down these water ways through the inappropriate use of storm water drains, lack of waste management services around informal settlements and lack of awareness amongst consumers about the impact of the products they buy”

Green Corridors is calling upon governments, businesses, communities, and individuals to take action and support initiatives that help to minimize the waste flowing into the oceans.

“By investing in sustainable waste management systems, promoting recycling, and raising awareness about the importance of reducing plastic consumption, we can create a positive and lasting impact on our oceans and the planet as a whole,” says Rakgabale.

Aerial view of Blue Lagoon and Durban’s spectacular coastline – with the Beachwood Mangroves in the foreground. Reasons to care for our waterways and ensure we keep waste away from the rivers as they affect the health of our oceans. Green Corridors has 16 litterbooms set up on rivers around Durban to try to prevent waste from flowing into the oceans. Photo TCM Photography/Green Corridors

Green Corridors will participate in a number of events during the month of June to create awareness around waste management and recycling related to the oceans:

  • On Saturday 10 June at the World Oceans Day Swim Green Corridors will have a stand at the Durban Beach Club where you can meet the team involved in the litterboom, and clean-ups.
  • Also on Saturday 10 June from 2pm, the KwaMashu School of Dance Theatre will be performing at the Global Water Dance Festival at Green Corridors – Green Hub open Grass area.

For more information about Green Corridors go to https://durbangreencorridor.co.za/

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