Archive | October 9, 2014

Deadly Ebola Virus; British man suspected of contracting virus ‘dies in Macedonia’

Ebola Virus

A British man suffering from suspected Ebola has died in Macedonia, it has been reported.
 
The unnamed man ‘s death was announced by a senior Macedonian Government official.
 
A second Briton had shown symptoms of the virus, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity is reported to have said.
 
If confirmed, the dead man is the first Briton known to have died in the current global Ebola outbreak.
 
The hotel where the man had been staying has been sealed off – with the authorities reported to be keeping another Briton and staff inside.
 
The pair travelled to Macedonia from London on October 2. The dead man was taken ill at about 3pm local time and died around two hours later, the spokesman said.
A spokesman from the Macedonian foreign ministry said: “I can confirm that a British person has died and he is in the state hospital in Skopje.
 
“We are looking to see what are the reasons according to the protocols of the World Health Organisation.”
 
Dr Jovanka Kostovska of the ministry’s commission for infectious diseases said the man had been suffering from fever, vomiting and internal bleeding, and that his condition deteriorated rapidly.
 
“These are all symptoms of Ebola, which raises suspicions with this patient,” Kostovska told a news conference, adding that samples had been sent to Germany for tests to confirm the cause of death.
“We can’t confirm the patient died from Ebola,” said Dr Jovanka Kostovska from the Department of Preventive Health Care at the Ministry of Health.
“The patient had a mild body temperature of 37.4 degrees Celsius when he arrived. That is not characteristic for Ebola.
“ However considering the rapid and severe clinical picture presented – vomiting, internal bleeding, and sudden and quick death, which are also symptoms of Ebola, suspicion among the patients was raised.
“Samples have been sent to a laboratory in Germany to find out which virus it is. Until then we cannot confirm anything. The results are expected to be available in 48 hours.
“According to the protocols in place for high risk diseases and as a result of the symptoms we are taking all necessary precautions. An autopsy will be carried out and material sent for analysis in international reference laboratory.
“Until the results are confirmed as is protocol in such cases the hotel where the patient stayed has a ban on entry of persons and has been quarantined as have medics who were in direct contact with the patient, pending the initial results, “says Dr. Kostovska.
 
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “We are aware of the reports and are urgently looking into them.”
 
Meanwhile, another British man battling for life with Ebola is to receive an emergency blood transfusion from a doctor who has beaten the deadly virus.
 
Photojournalist Ashoka Mukpo, the son of an aristocrat, will receive plasma from American Dr Kent Brantly in a bid to boost his chances of survival.
 
33-year-old former LSE student Ashoka, who holds both Britain and US passports, contracted the virus in Liberia while working for American news channel NBC.
 
On Monday he was flown to the Nebraska Medical Centre bio containment unit, where he was met by doctors as well as his British fiancee and mother and American dad.
 
British nurse Will Pooley was cured of the deadly virus last month.
Britain has stepped up its role in the battle against Ebola by sending 750 troops to Sierra Leone to help tackle the outbreak.
 
A medical ship and three Merlin ­helicopters will also head for the West African country, where the situation is becoming increasingly desperate.
 
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: “We all have to do more if we are going to prevent what is currently a crisis from becoming a catastrophe.”
 
His announcement came after the death of Thomas Eric Duncan – the first patient to be diagnosed in America. 
 
To avoid a repeat, the US stepped up security checks at five airports and the UK identified four NHS hospitals ready to take Ebola patients if the virus arrives here.
 
The latest outbreak is the world’s deadliest with 3,800 deaths from 8,000 cases.
 
At a joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry in ­Washington, Mr Hammond outlined details of the British military’s role in the war on the virus.
 
UK and US troops, including engineers, logistics specialists and medical staff, will build and run Ebola medical centres and a World Health Organisation-led health training facility in Sierra Leone. 
 
It is believed the measures will help the country treat 9,000 patients over the next six months.
 
Casualty-receiving ship RFA Argus, which boasts a 100-bed medical unit, will be sent to the capital Freetown.
The Merlin helicopters will be based off the coast and will help transport UK forces.
 
Mr Hammond said: “This disease is an unprecedented threat that knows no borders. We have to get ahead of this disease. If we get ahead of it and rise to the challenge, we can contain it and beat it.”
 
At home, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned it was “now entirely possible that someone with Ebola will come to the UK either by one route or another”.
 
Four NHS hospitals have been ­identified as units ready to take Ebola patients if the need arises.
London’s Royal Free Hospital, which successfully treated British nurse William Pooley, currently has the UK’s only high-level isolation unit.
 
But health chiefs have now identified hospitals in Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield as three others which could take Ebola patients if it hits the UK.
 
The Mirror revealed how Chief Medical Officer Prof Dame Sally Davies, has sent a five-page Ebola warning to every doctor, pharmacist and chief nurse in the country.

Super Typhoon ‘Ompong’ (Vongfong) Stirs Northern Seas

Screengrab from http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph
Philippines–Forecasters of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) expect Typhoon “Ompong” (international name: Vongfong)—by far the year’s strongest cyclone—to exit the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) by Saturday afternoon.
 
Forecaster Buddy Javier said that as of 4 p.m. Thursday, the typhoon was estimated at 866 kilometers east of Calayan, Cagayan, and 825 kilometers east of Itbayat, Batanes, with maximum sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 240 kph, moving north at 9 kph.
 
The estimated amount of rainfall within the 700-km diameter of the typhoon is heavy to intense at 7.5 mm per hour to 25 mm per hour.
 
While Ompong is not expected to make landfall, its enhancement of northeasterly winds is causing sea conditions over the northern and western seaboards of Northern Luzon as well as the eastern seaboard of Luzon and the Visayas to be rough to very rough, according to Javier.
 
Ompong is classified as a super typhoon by the Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
 
Javier advised fishing boats and other small sea craft against venturing into the seaboards, which are anticipated to be affected by strong to gale force winds. He also alerted bigger vessels to waves that could reach up to 5 meters.
 
Although the northeast monsoon, locally known as the “amihan,” is already prevailing over Luzon and parts of the Visayas, it is still too soon to declare its onset, Javier told the Inquirer.
 
The forecaster said the northeast monsoon is dominant in Luzon and in most parts of the Visayas but the southwest monsoon, or “habagat,” is still prevailing over the southern part of the Visayas and Mindanao.
 
Javier said the onset of the northeast monsoon, which is usually associated with the Christmas season, is expected by next week when the northeast monsoon prevails over the entire archipelago.
 
In Pagasa’s forecast for Friday, the Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and the Cotabato provinces as well as Palawan will experience cloudy skies with light to moderate rainshowers and thunderstorms while the Cagayan Valley region will have cloudy skies with light to moderate rains.
 
Metro Manila and the rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms.

Reminder: Severe cyclonic storm Hudhud is forecast to strike India at about 16:00 GMT on 11th October 2014

Tropical storm Hudhud is forecast to strike India as a severe cyclonic storm at about 16:00 GMT on 11 October. Data supplied by the US Navy and Air Force Joint Typhoon Warning Center suggest that the point of landfall will be near 17.0 N, 83.4 E. Hudhud is expected to bring 1-minute maximum sustained winds to the region of around 185 km/h (114 mph). Wind gusts in the area may be considerably higher.
 
According to the Saffir-Simpson damage scale the potential property damage and flooding from a storm of Hudhud’s strength (category 3) at landfall includes: Storm surge generally 2.7-3.7 metres (9-12 feet) above normal. Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtainwall failures. Damage to shrubbery and trees with foliage blown off trees and large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly constructed signs are destroyed. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the centre of the storm. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by battering from floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than 1.5 metres (5 feet) above mean sea level may be flooded inland 13 km (8 miles) or more. Evacuation of low-lying residences within several blocks of the shoreline may be required. There is also the potential for flooding further inland due to heavy rain.

Super typhoon Vongfong is forecast to strike Japan as a tropical storm at about 12:00 GMT on 13th October 2014

Super typhoon Vongfong is forecast to strike Japan as a tropical storm at about 12:00 GMT on 13 October. Data supplied by the US Navy and Air Force Joint Typhoon Warning Center suggest that the point of landfall will be near 36.3 N, 136.3 E. Vongfong is expected to bring 1-minute maximum sustained winds to the region of around 101 km/h (63 mph). Wind gusts in the area may be considerably higher.

Voluntary evacuation notice for residents as volcanic lava spreads toward homes on Hawaii’s Big Island

Evacuation

Officials tracking volcanic lava creeping through a forest toward homes on Hawaii’s Big Island have issued a voluntary evacuation notice for residents with existing health conditions who might find themselves abruptly cut off from medical care.
 
Residents in the affected Puna district were warned on Tuesday that “medical services and supplies will be severely limited and emergency medical response time may be significantly delayed” if the lava flow crosses the area’s main roadway.
 
Health officials have previously warned of the effects of heavy smoke from trees burned by the molten rock.
 
A mixture of gases and fine particles released as the lava sets vegetation on fire could cause breathing difficulties, especially for individuals with chronic respiratory conditions, the state Health Department and American Lung Association said.
 
Civil Defence officials and the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday imposed flight restrictions over the lava stream, which began oozing from Kilauea Volcano on June 27, due to congested air traffic from sightseers and the media.
 
The flow came to a standstill in late September but resumed its slow crawl forward last week and has covered 85m to 110m since Tuesday, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
 
The leading edge of the flow was about 1.6km from the outskirts of Pahoa village, a historic former sugar plantation consisting of small shops and homes with a population of about 800 people.
 
It was also about 3km from Highway 130, a major route travelled by as many as 10 000 automobiles a day.
 
About 4 000 people overall live in the residential communities that the lava is approaching.
 
The lava flow initially prompted some residents of the Kaohe Homestead subdivision to flee as it crept toward their homes. It then cut through vacant areas in the homestead last month as it veered toward the much larger town of Pahoa.
 
Officials have said that thousands of people could end up isolated and forced to take congested gravel roads if the flow blocks Highway 130.
 
The flow’s leading edge is about 40m wide, large enough to destroy homes in its path. But it posed no immediate danger to local communities, and no general mandatory evacuations have been ordered, civil defence officials said in a statement.
 
The Kilauea Volcano has been erupting from its Pu’u O’o vent since 1983. The last home destroyed by lava on the Big Island was in the Royal Gardens subdivision in Kalapana in 2012 

MAGNITUDE 5.4 EASTER ISLAND REGION

http://www.emsc-csem.org/Earthquake/earthquake.php?id=403513

Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 3794 km W of Santiago, Chile / pop: 4,837,295 / local time: 17:59:59.6 2014-10-09
4141 km SW of Lima, Peru / pop: 7,737,002 / local time: 15:59:59.6 2014-10-09
4157 km SE of Papeete, French Polynesia / pop: 26,357 / local time: 10:59:59.6 2014-10-09


Global viewRegional view

MAGNITUDE 4.8 ICELAND REGION

Subject to change

Depth: 8.8 km
 

Distances: Latitude, Longitude  64.611 -17.388
(7.4 km ESE of Bárðarbunga)

Earthquake location   09 Oct 21:55 GMT

Map of earthquake epicentres

Time and magnitude of earthquake   09 Oct 21:55 GMT

Graph showing earthquake timing and magnitude

MAGNITUDE 4.1 ICELAND REGION

Subject to change

Depth: 1.6 km
 

Distances: Latitude, Longitude  64.679 -17.493
(4.6 km NNE of Bárðarbunga)

Earthquake location   09 Oct 21:55 GMT

Map of earthquake epicentres

Time and magnitude of earthquake   09 Oct 21:55 GMT

Graph showing earthquake timing and magnitude

MAGNITUDE 5.1 PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION

http://www.emsc-csem.org/Earthquake/earthquake.php?id=403480

Subject To Change

Depth: 2 km

Distances: 259 km S of Kaohsiung, Taiwan / pop: 1,519,711 / local time: 03:20:05.6 2014-10-10
196 km S of Hengchun, Taiwan / pop: 31,288 / local time: 03:20:05.6 2014-10-10


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MAGNITUDE 4.9 OFF COAST OF AISEN, CHILE

http://www.emsc-csem.org/Earthquake/earthquake.php?id=403473

Subject To Change

Depth: 15 km

Distances: 1402 km SW of Santiago, Chile / pop: 4,837,295 / local time: 14:34:47.4 2014-10-09
517 km W of Coihaique, Chile / pop: 45,787 / local time: 14:34:47.4 2014-10-09
420 km SW of Puerto Quellón, Chile / pop: 21,823 / local time: 14:34:47.4 2014-10-09


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