Guideline: Recognition and Management of Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers » Referral of VHF 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.