2. REFERRAL OF VIRAL HAEMORRHAGIC FEVER PATIENTS
After it was recognized in the 1980s that Congo fever is indigenous in South Africa, it was arranged that at least one provincial hospital within each province should be designated as a referral centre for the management of VHF patients, but circumstances have changed:
● It can no longer be assumed that VHF patients can automatically be referred to designated provincial hospitals.
● All private hospitals, and public tertiary and regional hospitals should be adequately resourced and prepared to handle VHF patients.
● All other public hospitals must have access to public referral hospitals that are adequately resourced.
● It is the responsibility of provincial Department of Health and Hospital Services, including the Coordinators of Communicable Disease Control, to formulate and implement provincial policy with regard to referral of VHF patients, including the designation of specific referral hospitals (see section 7).
● Previous versions of the present document contained a list of designated referral hospitals with contact details of persons with whom to liaise in order to arrange referral of VHF patients. Unfortunately this type of information is subject to abrupt changes, and hence the management of each hospital (specifically infection control officers) should establish for themselves what policy applies in their own province or sub region with respect to referral of VHF patients, and keep up-to-date contact details for the nearest designated VHF referral centre. Do not be caught unprepared.