Deadly Ebola Virus: Nigeria declares state of EMERGENCY

Deadly Ebola Virus: Nigeria declares state of EMERGENCY
Ebola Virus
The outbreak is moving faster than we can control it says Margaret Chan, WHO Director general

GUINEA has announced that it is to close borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia in an desperate attempt to halt the continuing spread of the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola

Liberian nurses remove an Ebola victim from a street in Virginia, left, and right, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan

As the virus ravages West Africa, Nigeria has become the third nation to declare a national state of emergency – announced as the death toll of the devastating Ebola epidemic nears 1,000 people.

To date the incurable disease – which has spread through Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria – has infected over 1,779 people.

Yesterday officials from the World Health Organisation admitted that it is struggling to cope with the growing epidemic.

WHO Director general Margaret Chan said: “The outbreak is moving faster than we can control it”.

British Airways and Emirates have responded to the ongoing outbreak by grounded flights to West African disease hotspots in an effort to protect its staff and passengers.

Meanwhile international health experts have congratulated the WHO on not insisting for movement restrictions – allowing for faster transport of personnel and equipment.

In a bid to slow the spread of the fatal virus – which holds a mortality rate of almost 50% – Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan approved more than 1.9billion Naira (£6.6million) to fight the disease.

Nigeria, which houses Africa’s highest population, has already confirmed seven cases and two deaths.

The first death was that of a dual US-Liberian citizen, infected with Ebola, who landed in Lagos on a flight from Liberia, via Togo, on 20 July.

The second was the nurse who tended to him. 

Seven people suspected of contracting the disease are being investigated while another 139 Nigerian people are under surveillance.

Guinea Police secure the area around a man who collapsed in the street feared to suffer from Ebola
Guinea Police secure the area around a man who collapsed in the street feared to suffer from Ebola

President Goodluck Jonathan said in a statement that “every death should be reported to the relevant authorities and special precautions should be taken in handling corpses”.

He also took time to warn members of the public to not spread false information about the Ebola virus “which can lead to mass hysteria, panic and misdirection, including unverified suggestions about prevention, treatment, cure and spread of the virus”.

The epidemic – labelled “an international health emergency” by WHO on Friday –  has been confirmed in four African nations including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.

But the warnings and continuous stream of WHO statements have been criticised by Dr. Bart Janssens, the director of operations for Doctors Without Borders.

“Statements won’t save lives,” he said.

“Lives are being lost because the response is too slow”.

Two patients are currently being treated for the as-yet incurable disease in the United States.

Aid worker Dr Kent Brantly – who returned for US medical care a week ago – is quarantined at a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

First Ebola victim to be brought to the US, Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife, Amber, pose for a photo
First Ebola victim to be brought to the US, Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife, Amber, pose for a photo

In his first public statement since contracting the virus, Dr Brantly, 33, said that he was “growing stronger every day”.

“When I started feeling ill on that Wednesday morning, I immediately isolated myself until the test confirmed my diagnosis three days later,” he explains in the emotional statement.

“When the result was positive, I remember a deep sense of peace that was beyond all understanding.

“I am writing this update from my isolation room at Emory University Hospital, where the doctors and nurses are providing the very best care possible.

“I am growing stronger every day and I thank God for his mercy as I have wrestled with this terrible disease”.

Texan-born Dr Brantly and 59-year-old North Carolinian missionary Nancy Writebol are believed to be the first Ebola patients to receive treatment in the USA.

The pair were part of a Christian aid team helping to combat the outbreak in Liberia.

But despite the rapid spread of the virus – characterised by similarity to a Shepherds Crook beneath a microscope – the European Commission has insisted that the risk to the continent is “extremely low”, due in part to the high standards of healthcare and prevention.

In a statement, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said that the British Government was “very much focused” on dealing with this “new and emerging threat“.

Nancy Writebol is transported to Atlanta's Emory University Hospital isolation ward on Tuesday
Nancy Writebol is transported to Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital isolation ward on Tuesday

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