Tag Archive | Ebola outbreak

Case of Ebola detected in DRC Democratic Republic of Congo #Ebola #DRC

Ebola Virus

A case of Ebola has been detected in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, more than six weeks after the last case, the government said in a statement.

The central African country planned on Sunday to declare an end to the second biggest outbreak of the disease in history, which had killed more than 2,200.

So far no cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in DRC. However, if and when one is detected, the country faces a epidemic battle on two fronts.

Courtesy of theguardian.com

Guinea declares Ebola emergency in five regions

State Of Emergency

Guinea has declared a 45-day “health emergency” in five regions of the African country to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola disease.
In a statement published in national media on Saturday, Guinean President Alpha Conde said that he was declaring the health emergency in the west and southwest of the country, adding that the focus of the virus “has shifted to our country’s coastal areas.”
“That is why I am declaring a reinforced health emergency for a period of 45 days in the prefectures of Forecariah, Coyah, Dubreka, Boffa and Kindia,” he said.
Conde added that “strict measures” will also be taken in the capital, Conakry, to “increase vigilance” in communities against the spread of the virus.
“Wherever the need may be, throughout this period, measures of restriction and confinement will be taken,” said the president.
The restrictions include the temporary closure of hospitals and clinics where there have been cases of Ebola, as well as new rules on burials and possible lockdowns.
A health worker prepares a vaccination on March 10, 2015 at a health center in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, during the first clinical trials of the VSV-EBOV vaccine against the Ebola virus. © AFP
The Ebola outbreak began in the African country in December 2013.
More than 24,000 people in nine countries have been infected with the virus, and over 10,000 of them have lost their lives since the Ebola outbreak.
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are the three African countries worst hit by the deadly virus.
There is no specific treatment or vaccine for Ebola, which is a form of hemorrhagic fever with diarrhea, vomiting, as well as internal and external bleeding as its symptoms. The virus spreads through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.
Courtesy of Press TV

Liberia reports first new case of Ebola in weeks

Ebola Virus

Liberia reported its first Ebola case in weeks on Friday, a woman whom authorities suspect may have contracted the virus through sexual intercourse with a survivor, in a setback to efforts to halt the outbreak in West Africa.
Liberian Information Minister Lewis Brown said that a 44-year-old woman had been transferred to the ELWA Ebola treatment unit in the capital Monrovia after testing positive for the virus.
“Initial suspicion is that she may have contacted the virus through sexual intercourse with a survivor,” the minister said.
Liberia had not reported any new cases for a few weeks. However, health officials have warned that even after areas are declared free of the disease new cases are possible due to sexual transmission.
A spokesman for Medecins Sans Frontieres, which runs the unit, confirmed that a patient had tested positive at a transit centre in the government-run Redemption Hospital in Monrovia.
The Ebola outbreak, which began in eastern Guinea over a year ago, is the worst on record and has killed more than 10,200 people, mostly in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Guinea has recently reported a rash of new cases of the disease, which had appeared to be on the wane.
In Liberia, the government had hoped to declare the country Ebola-free next month, 42 days after the last patient tested negative for a second time, which would mark double the length of the virus’s incubation period.
However, while the disease typically takes 15 to 21 days to run its course, traces of Ebola can remain in semen for around two months after recovery, so transmission by sexual intercourse would still pose a risk, health officials say.
Brown said that once the new case was detected on Friday, surveillance teams had been deployed to the woman’s neighbourhood of Caldwell in Monrovia — not far from the last recorded cluster of cases in the St Paul’s Bridge suburb — to track down people who had come into contact with her.
Liberia had previously gone for 16 days without any new infections, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The government put the figure at 27 days without cases.
It released its last known patient on March 5.
Monrovia became the epicentre of the outbreak in the middle of last year but since then hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and the deployment of U.S. troops have helped officials control the spread of the virus.
Courtesy of Yahoo News

Deadly Ebola Virus is spreading intensely and getting worse across Sierra Leone, Africa

Ebola Virus

The Ebola virus is spreading intensely across Sierra Leone, prompting the World Health Organisation (WHO) to again revise the death toll upwards to 6,070 out of 17,145 cases.
Sierra Leone recorded 537 new Ebola cases in the week to November 30, compared with 385 new cases the previous week, the WHO said.
“Transmission remains persistent and intense across the country, with the exception of the south,” it said.
World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim announced a $US160 million ($190.3 million) two-year economic recovery plan on Wednesday to help the impoverished country battle the worst Ebola outbreak on record.
Mr Kim said after a closed-door meeting with president Ernest Bai Koroma in the capital Freetown, the cash would go towards regional operations centres and emergency response teams in the hard-hit west and north of the country.
The aid would also focus on the country’s floundering farming sector and rural job creation, he said.
“We are concerned that agricultural production has dropped significantly as a result of the Ebola epidemic and we will help farmers recover by building feeder roads that connect small farmers to markets,” Mr Kim said.
“We must make sure that the Ebola epidemic is not followed by a food security crisis,” he said.
“We will work to improve basic infrastructure such as urban services and access to electricity that will help the wellbeing of citizens.”
Sierra Leone facing recession next year
An increase in cases in Sierra Leone’s west is causing alarm, and the World Bank said the fallout from Ebola would push the country into recession next year.
The West African nation of six million people grew at 11.3 per cent in the first half of the year but has contracted since at a rate of 2.8 per cent.
The country was expected to achieve 4 per cent growth this year and shrink by 2 per cent in 2015.
Gross domestic product could fall $US900 million ($1.071 billion) next year, the bank said.
Food production would also decrease because planting was curtailed from June to August.
Heavy rain in September hit the country’s rice crop and iron ore prices plunged.
A recent United Nations study in Sierra Leone found that 47 per cent of people questioned believed that the crisis had seriously affected their agricultural activities.
Mr Koroma said he was reassured by Mr Kim’s visit.
“The presence of [Mr Kim] will send a signal to the rest of the world that Sierra Leone is still open for visitors,” Mr Koroma said in a joint news conference.
“We are still safe, we are fighting Ebola and our focus is to isolate the virus and not to isolate the country.”
Mr Kim flew to Guinea’s capital Conakry, where he was expected to meet government officials and health experts.

Ebola crisis: Seventh Sierra Leone doctor dies from virus

Ebola Virus

A Sierra Leonean doctor has died from Ebola, bringing the number of doctors killed by the virus to seven, a medical source says.
“Dr Michael Kargbo died this afternoon,” said a senior health worker at the Hastings Treatment Centre in the outskirts of Freetown.
It was not clear how Dr Kargbo, a 64-year-old dermatologist working at the Magburaka Government Hospital, was infected with Ebola, as he was not serving in a frontline Ebola treatment unit.
Sierra Leone has seen at least 128 of its health personnel infected by Ebola, as staff working in general wards and special treatment centres have been exposed to the disease.
All seven Sierra Leonean doctors who have contracted Ebola have died.
Dr Kargbo’s death comes a day after Dr Martin Salia, a surgeon from Sierra Leone, died in the United States after being evacuated for treatment.
The Ebola outbreak has killed over 5,000 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Mali is currently facing a new wave of cases but Senegal and Nigeria have successfully contained outbreaks.
Liberia’s president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has set a goal of having no new cases by the end of December.
UN officials said the disease was still advancing rapidly in Sierra Leone, where there is a lack of treatment centres.

Deadly Ebola Virus; Woman Tested for Virus at London’s St George’s Hospital, Tooting, UK

Ebola Virus

A woman with a “history of travel to West Africa” has been tested for the Ebola virus in a hospital in south London, local media reported.
According to a spokesperson of St George’s Hospital in Tooting, the woman was admitted to hospital suffering from a haemorrhagic fever.
“She is currently undergoing a series of tests, as a precaution one of which is for Ebola,” the spokesperson said.
“The trust has followed national guidance and moved the patient to our clinical infections unit where they are being cared for in isolation, away from other patients.
“We are confident that all appropriate actions have been taken by our staff to protect the public and the patient.”
According to a woman visiting her father in the hospital, the Accident and Emergency (A&E ) department had been cordoned off to make sure nobody would access it.
“When I went back in, the A&E section was closed off with a big sign saying ‘do not enter’ with staff standing nearby to make sure no one got through.
“I heard someone saying something about a woman having Ebola.
“I was worried as I had to get back to my Dad and the corridor was now blocked.”
A Public Health England spokesman said: “PHE can confirm it will undertake precautionary tests relating to a patient presently at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, who has a history of travel to West Africa.
“Ebola is considered unlikely but testing is being done as a precaution, as is our usual practice in these circumstances. We are confident that all appropriate actions are being taken to protect the public’s health.”
The Ebola outbreak, the worst in history, has killed nearly 5,000 people in west Africa since last January.
Ebola is contracted by contact with infected bodily fluids. Its symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, and body aches. 
The disease, dubbed by some “the new Aids”, is causing growing concern worldwide, as hundreds of people are dying every day in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Many countries are banning flights from Ebola-hit nations as a result of growing concern that the deadly virus could be spread to other countries if people from affected areas are allowed to travel.
Fears of contagion are also leading to a surge in racist and discriminatory attacks worldwide.

Ebola Believed To Be Potentially Airborne, Researchers Claim

Ebola Virus

Editor’s note: this story has been amended to reflect that the primary source was submitted to and published by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy; the research and findings reflected did not originate with CIDRAP and should not be attributed to CIDRAP.
Ebola may have the potential to be airborne, according to a September commentary submitted to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota. The authors believe “scientific and epidemiologic evidence that Ebola virus has the potential to be transmitted via infectious aerosol particles both near and at a distance from infected patients.”
The scientists behind the report warn that surgical facemasks will not prevent the transmission of Ebola. According to the report, medical workers must immediately be given full-hooded protective gear and powered air-purifying respirators.
An excerpt from the report — submitted to CIDRAP by the authors, “who are national experts on respiratory protection and infectious disease transmission” — reads, “Healthcare workers play a very important role in the successful containment of outbreaks of infectious diseases like Ebola. The correct type and level of personal protective equipment (PPE) ensures that healthcare workers remain healthy throughout an outbreak—and with the current rapidly expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa, it’s imperative to favor more conservative measures.”
The report goes on to note that any action which can be taken to “reduce risk” of Ebola exposure should not wait until a “scientific certainty” develops.
“The minimum level of protection in high-risk settings should be a respirator with an assigned protection factor greater than 10. A powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) with a hood or helmet offers many advantages over an N95 filtering facepiece or similar respirator, being more protective, comfortable, and cost-effective in the long run,” the report also adds.
The working theory about Ebola transmission from the CDC and the agency’s director Thomas Frieden, is incorrect and “outmoded” according to the report.
“Virus-laden bodily fluids may be aerosolized and inhaled while a person is in proximity to an infectious person and that a wide range of particle sizes can be inhaled and deposited throughout the respiratory tract,” University researchers concluded.
Background information detailing why these experts believes the CDC and WHO are functioning under an outdated mode of thought when it comes to how infectious diseases are transmitted via aerosols is also included in the new report.
“Medical and infection control professionals have relied for years on a paradigm for aerosol transmission of infectious diseases based on very outmoded research and an overly simplistic interpretation of the data. In the 1940s and 50s, William F. Wells and other ‘aerobiologists’ employed now significantly out-of-date sampling methods (eg, settling plates) and very blunt analytic approaches (eg, cell culturing) to understand the movement of bacterial aerosols in healthcare and other settings. Their work, though groundbreaking at the time, provides a very incomplete picture,” the report said.
According to researchers, early aerobiologists were unable to measure small particles near an infected person and therefore made an assumption that such particles existed on far from the source and airborne transmission could have happened around 3-feet or so from the source.

Deadly Ebola Virus: Teen Rushed To Hospital With Symptoms Of Deadly Virus, Brooklyn, New York, USA

Ebola Virus

A 14-year-old Brooklyn boy was rushed to a hospital with Ebola-like symptoms Friday night, New York Daily News reported, citing officials. The 2014 Ebola outbreak has claimed 4, 033 lives out of 8, 399 documented cases in West Africa, while a U.S. Ebola patient died at a hospital in Dallas on Wednesday.
The teenager with high fever was brought to Brookdale Hospital after he fell unconscious, officials told the Daily News. The teenager reportedly fell ill during his two-week trip to the Sudan in North Africa. The boy was quarantined by the hospital staff and doctors were testing him to determine whether he had Ebola. Health officials were also reportedly determining if the teen’s relatives should be quarantined, sources told the Daily News.
“They’re not letting anyone come near him,” a law enforcement source told the paper.
The New York Police Department is also trying to find out the exact date on which the boy flew back into the country and how many people had been in physical contact with him since then. The teen has not officially been diagnosed with Ebola.
“Results for Ebola tests do not have an instantaneous turnaround,” a spokeswoman for the city’s Office of Emergency Management said.
The news comes as the first person to die from Ebola in the U.S. was cremated. The family of Thomas Duncan released medical records which revealed that after his initial visit to hospital, he had only been given a prescription for antibiotics and was sent home. Authorities were informed that he had recently returned from Liberia — the worst affected country in West Africa. He was subsequently diagnosed with Ebola in late September. The hospital where Duncan was treated, Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, has come under fire for its handling of his case.

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.

Deadly Ebola Virus; 1.2 million people quarantined in Sierra Leone, Africa

Ebola Virus

Sierra Leone has quarantined more than 1 million people in the largest lockdown in west Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak
Three new districts and 12 tribal chiefdoms have been restricted with immediate affect after a lockdown last week helped health officials identify challenging areas.
“The isolation of districts and chiefdoms will definitely pose great difficulty but the lives of everyone and the survival of our country takes precedence over these difficulties,” president Ernest Bai Koroma said.
“These are trying moments for everyone in the country.”
The northern districts of Port Loko and Bombali are to be closed off along with the southern district of Moyamba – effectively sealing off about 1.2 million people.
Only health workers and people delivering essential items can move within the new quarantine zones.
The worst ever outbreak of Ebola has killed almost 3,000 people in West Africa, including nearly 600 in Sierra Leone.
The World Health Organisation warned the number of cases could triple unless more was done.
Obama says world not moving fast enough
Its call was backed by US president Barack Obama, who told a crisis meeting at the United Nations that world powers were “not moving fast enough”.
Mr Obama has already dispatched 3,000 troops to Liberia to set up facilities and form training teams to help treat Ebola victims.
Congress has also approved the use of money leftover from the Afghanistan war to begin funding the president’s $US1 billion request to help fight the outbreak.
But Mr Obama warned other nations the US did not have the capacity to fight the epidemic on its own.
“I hope that I’ve properly communicated a sense of urgency here,” he said.
“Do not stand by thinking that because of something that we’ve done that it’s taken care of because of what we’ve done. It’s not.
“Everyone has the best of intentions but there is still a significant gap between where we are and where we need to be.”
The UN meeting was called by secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to ramp up the international response after the Security Council last week declared the outbreak a threat to world peace and security.
Liberia ‘fighting back’, president says
Liberia is now the country hardest hit by the outbreak. The country says it has secured imports of basic food staples until December, but the disruption caused to its mining sector could trigger a recession next year.
Airlines have suspended flights while expatriate workers have fled.
Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, told the meeting by video link that her country was facing perhaps its greatest challenge, and while the world had taken some time to adequately respond, “We are fighting back”.
The Canadian government says poor global coordination has bogged down efforts to deliver its Ebola vaccine to Africa.
The experimental vaccine remains in a government laboratory, six weeks after Canada promised to make it available to fight the deadly outbreak.
Foreign minsters of the G7 group of countries pledged to keep open air and sea links with Ebola-hit countries.
“We warn that although the spread of Ebola must be contained, affected countries must not be isolated,” the group said in a statement.
“We underline the necessity to enhance the ability of the countries concerned to fight the disease themselves.”