Mali has recorded a second Ebola death after a 25-year-old nurse diagnosed with the deadly disease died, the government said in a statement on Wednesday.
The nurse was said to have been in contact with a man who arrived from Guinea and died in late October at the now locked down Pasteur Clinic.
The government said that all necessary steps to identify people who had come in contact with the nurse, who died on Tuesday evening, had been taken. It was not indicated how many people were being traced.
The case involving the nurse at a private medical clinic in the capital, Bamako, is unrelated to Mali’s first Ebola victim, a two-year-old girl from Guinea who died last month.
Officials said that man believed to have brought the second case of Ebola to Mali was an Imam from Guinea. He was not tested for Ebola while he was ill in Mali and his body was returned to Guinea without necessary precautions for the Ebola virus Disease, raising the prospect of further possible cases that may result in few weeks.
Nigeria has clearly overcome Ebola virus disease and for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), this is a commendable feat.
President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, after a special meeting of the group and the IMF, said Nigeria has demonstrated high competence in the way the Ebola Containment was handled.
He praised the federal, state and local government and all medical workers and the private sector for working together to contain the Ebola virus in the country.
The meeting of the World Bank and IMF, which held in Washington on Thursday morning, noted sadly that the virus continues to surge in the three worst affected countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
If more countries get trapped in the spread within two years, the financial impact could reach 32.6 billion dollars by the end of 2015.
The United Nations Ebola response coordinator, Dr. David Nabarro, has said that the worst outbreak of Ebola on record can be contained if countries quickly build and staff treatment centers in West African nations hardest hit by the deadly virus.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said Ebola had claimed the lives of 3,879 people from among 8,033 confirmed, probable and suspected cases since it was identified in Guinea in March.
Officials with the U.S. Center for Disease Control were dispatched to study how Nigeria achieved its Ebola containment after the United States reported that Ebola had been discovered in Dallas, Texas.
The CDC Director, Tom Frieden, said in a statement, “It’s clear the nation (US) needs a quick and thorough response to its first Ebola patient” noting that “their (Nigeria’s) extensive response to a single case of Ebola shows that control is possible with rapid, focused interventions.”
Nigeria has not reported new cases since August 31. Likewise, Senegal has not reported any new Ebola cases since September 18.
According to the CDC, Nigeria reported their first case July 20 when Patrick Sawyer traveled from Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria. He exposed 72 other passengers with the virus. Nigerian health officials found everyone who had been in contact with Sawyer and developed a mobilization plan.
They reached more than 26,000 households in this process. Nigeria also established the Ebola Management Center in the process.
The number of new Ebola cases in West Africa is growing faster than authorities can manage them, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, renewing a call for health workers from around the world to go to the region to help.
As the death toll rose to more than 2,400 people out of 4,784 cases, WHO director general, Margaret Chan, said the vast nature of the outbreak — particularly in the three hardest-hit countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — required a massive emergency response.
“The Ebola outbreak that is ravaging parts of West Africa is the largest, most complex and most severe in the almost four-decade history of this disease,” she told reporters on an international teleconference from Geneva.
“The number of new patients is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them. We need to surge at least three to four times to catch up with the outbreaks.”
Chan called for urgent international support in sending doctors, nurses, medical supplies and aid to the worst-affected countries.
“The thing we need most is people,” she said. “The right people, the right specialists, and specialists who are appropriately trained and know how to keep themselves safe.”
The Ebola infection rate and death toll have been particularly high among health workers, who are exposed to hundreds of highly infectious patients who can pass the virus on through body fluids such as blood and excrement.
Some foreign healthcare workers, including several Americans and at least one Briton, have also become infected while working with patients in West Africa, had also contracted the disease.
Speaking at the same briefing, Cuba’s minister for Public Health, Roberto Morales Ojeda, said his country would be sending 165 healthcare workers to help in the fight – the largest contingent of foreign doctors and nurses to be committed so far.
Chan welcomed Cuba’s move and urged others to follow suit.
“If we are going to go to war with Ebola, we need the resources to fight,” she said. “We still need about 500 to 600 doctors coming from abroad and at least 1,000 or more health care workers.”
She said the three worst affected countries were also running low on “almost everything” – including personal protective equipment, basic medical supplies and body bags.
“Today there is not one single bed available for the treatment of an Ebola patient in the entire country of Liberia,” she said.
Although the latest figures show more than 2,400 people have died of Ebola virus infection in West Africa since the epidemic started in March, Chan said even the most up-to-date tolls were likely to lag far behind the reality on the ground.
“Whatever number of cases and deaths we are reporting is an underestimate,” she said.
The U.N. health agency had previously warned there could be as many as 20,000 cases in the region before the outbreak is brought under control.
The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that economic growth in Liberia and Sierra Leone could decline by as much as 3.5 percentage points due to the outbreak, which it said had crippled their mining, agriculture and services sectors.
The Regional Virologist of the World Health Organisation, Professor Oyewale Tomori, believes that the only way for Nigeria to check the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease is to maintain the standard with which it has handled its first set of Ebola cases.
While admitting the deadliness of the disease, and acknowledging that the Nigerian Government has done well in managing it, he noted that there was need to do more in helping the people to douse the fears created by the disease, as this could be more dangerous.
He advised that reducing the level of panic across the country would be helped by the quality efforts put into the management of every case of fever in all hospitals across the country.
Prof. Tomori, who is also the President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, maintained that Ebola cannot be transmitted from a patient who hasn’t fallen sick but warned that this may not be applicable between couples and there was need for people to be supplied with information about such details.
The spread of the Ebola disease in West Africa has been quite rapid and considering that there had been an outbreak before in East Africa, which never escalated into an epidemic, Prof Tomori said that this can be blamed on the aggressive nature of the average West African who is less willing to adhere to instructions about his movement.
He recalled his experience during a similar outbreak in Uganda and DR Congo (former Zaire in East Africa) and how it was contained within two weeks, despite the situation looking gory as at when he arrived the country as an aid worker.
He noted that their governments came out and took action immediately and more importantly, the citizens were willing to listen and follow instructions given by health officials. He added that as long as the Ebola Virus Disease remains in other West African countries, Nigeria would be dreaming if it thinks the Ebola threat would be over by September 2014.
The index case of Patrick Sawyer came to the fore and the Prof. frowned at the manner in which Nigeria had been complacent in managing the information that was coming out of the initially affected countries. He said that Nigeria’s membership of the West African Health Organisation, WAHO was “only on paper, we have not really come to work together”.
He said that Nigeria should have been more proactive, because if the Nigerian embassies in these countries had been proactive, the entry of Sawyer into Nigeria could have been prevented.
The Ebola outbreak has changed the attitude of Nigerians to sanitation and personal hygiene and there are hopes that the new lifestyle would be maintained by many Nigerians and Prof Tomori shares same hopes but not without expressing doubts based on the Nigerian approach to challenges.
He said that he had noticed that once Nigeria overcomes a challenge it forgets about it until another problem comes. Therefore, institutionalizing these new personal and border hygiene practices would be the best way to approach things when the Ebola fight is over.
Prof. Tomori also said that Nigeria would need to do more in its border screening.
A special report by Channels Television had revealed how the screening at the Seme Border was being carried out and he referred to the structure as “a joke” adding that he expected Nigeria to set up its sanitary borders with military men to provide support.
The effectiveness of the drug, Zmapp, was also discussed. Prof Tomori said that the strength of the individual patient and the stage at which ZMapp was administered would determine how well it would work, as vital organs of the body must still be functioning well for ZMapp to be effective.
The possibility of an indigenous solution was also brought forward and Prof. Tomori said that indeed Nigerians have the human resources to develop a cure for Ebola with several brilliant persons in the health sector but the environment was not favourable.
The former Vice-Chancellor of the Redeemers’ University stressed the lack of consistent power supply, and the quality of communication services among the factors that would frustrate the idea of setting up a BSL-4 facility in Nigeria.
A biosafety level is a level of the biocontainment precautions required to isolate dangerous biological agents in an enclosed facility and Prof. Tomori stated that he would be reluctant to work in such a laboratory in Nigeria as it would be a risk of his life, except Nigeria improves on all the basic issues earlier mentioned.
Guinea’s capital, Conakry has recorded its first new Ebola cases in more than a month, while other previously unaffected areas have also reported infections in the past week.
This is according to the World Health Organisation.
The spread of the two-month-old outbreak, which Guinean authorities earlier said had been contained, risks further complicating the fight against the virus in a region already struggling with weak healthcare systems and porous borders.
Seven confirmed cases and nine suspected cases of Ebola are being dealt with in Sierra Leone.
The announcement comes after the WHO said on Monday that five people had died in the country’s first confirmed outbreak of the virus, signaling a new expansion of the disease which regional officials said had been brought under control.
“For Ebola in Sierra Leone for the last few days we have a total reported of seven confirmed cases and nine suspect cases. All of them are reported in the Koindu district, which is in the Kailahun prefecture which is bordering Guinea, notably bordering Gueckedou, the first site of Ebola in guinea,” said Dr Pierre Formenty from the WHO’s Department for the Control of Epidemic Diseases.
Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever with a fatality rate of up to 90%, is believed to have killed some 185 people in neighbouring Guinea and Liberia since March in the first deadly appearance of the disease in West Africa.
Authorities have identified several ways the virus has been transmitted, but human to human is the most prevalent form.
“We have been able to identify several chains of transmission. One of them starts, I would say, in the forest. But more importantly, this chain of transmission have lasted for six months now, through contact, human to human transmission, and again, through caring of people without precaution, through transmission within health care facilities, and through people attending funeral without precaution and being in contact of people dying of Ebola.”
The West African outbreak spread from a remote corner of Guinea to the capital, Conakry, and into Liberia, causing panic across the region.