Ebola: US Asks Nigeria To Assist Other West African Countries

EbolaUnited States’ Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has appealed to the Nigerian Government to assist other West African countries grappling with the containment of the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease in their country.

According to her, the Nigerian Government has better effective strategies for the containment and management of the virus than other West African countries like Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

She made her plea after meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, in Abuja on Thursday.

Thomas-Greenfield was on an official visit to Nigeria to attend a security meeting, as well as discuss issues on health and the 2015 general elections in Nigeria.

Port Harcourt Woman Died Of Cardiac Ailment Not Ebola – Commissioner

EbolaThe Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Samson Parker, has revealed that the elderly woman who passed on in the state, died of a cardiovascular ailment and not the Ebola virus as earlier suspected.

Dr. Parker made this disclosure on Thursday morning at a breifing with newsmen in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

The woman was said to have shared the same hospital room with the late Dr. Iyke Enemuo, who treated the Nigerian ECOWAS diplomat in Port Harcourt, prior to his (Enemuo) death from EVD.

The late woman was quarantined with a doctor and a pharmacist, who were staff of late Enemuo’s health facility, Sam Steel Clinic.

However, following several tests, it was discovered that they were free from Ebola and were given a clean bill of health, although they were still under medical surveillance.

Thursday’s disclosure by the Health Commissioner puts to rest what was feared to be the seventh Ebola fatality to be recorded in the country.

DR Congo Authorities Announce Rise In Ebola Death

DR CongoAuthorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have announced that the death toll has risen from 13 to 31, from an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Djera region of the DRC.

An expert on the epidemic and the current head of DR Congo’s National Research Institute of Biology, Professor Jacques Muyembe, who just came back from a fact finding mission in West Africa, as a representative of the Congolese Government, said that the virus in DRC can be contained much faster compared to the West Africa outbreak.

“What I saw in West Africa will go on for the next few months, at least for the next five months, especially in Liberia. But here at home, it’s an epidemic that would last between two to three months before it’s contained,” said Muyembe.

The outbreak in Congo’s Equateur province is thought to be separate from the epidemic in West Africa.

“The number of cases that we observed in Monrovia was much higher than anything we have had here in DRC, whenever we had an Ebola outbreak. The epidemic took them by surprise over there because they were not familiar with such a virus,” Muyembe said.

DR Congo’s infrastructure has been devastated by decades of corruption, conflict and misrule. The country, in 2013, came bottom of a United Nations development index.

However, despite these grim figures and the rise in the death toll, Muyembe believes with proper planning the virus can be contained.

“For the moment, everyone is panicking and they are trying to compare numbers with what’s happening in West Africa but these two epidemics are two different things because I was there and saw what was happening and it’s not going to happen here. We will be able to contain the epidemic much faster here. We will work in all transparency, so we shouldn’t really panic,” he said.

Researchers Warn Ebola Virus Is ‘Mutating Rapidly’

EbolaResearchers claim the Ebola virus disease (EVD) is rapidly and continually mutating, making it harder to diagnose and treat.

A study of the initial patients diagnosed with the virus in Sierra Leone revealed almost 400 genetic modifications that could be detrimental not only to current treatments, but also to future vaccines that are in the works.

Researchers at the Broad Institute in Massachusetts and Harvard University claim the Ebola virus (transmission electron micrograph image shown) is mutating rapidly.

The findings show it is becoming more difficult to diagnose and treat.

Future vaccines could also be less effective as mutations continue.

The team of researchers analysed more than 99 Ebola virus genomes.

Since the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease early this year in West Africa, at least 1,500 deaths have been recorded.

On August 24, a strain of the virus different from that in West Africa was detected on the Democratic Republic of Congo, posing more threat in handling the virus.

The World Health Organization have supported the use of untested drugs for the treatment of patients and had

On Thursday, the U.N. health agency said, said the Ebola outbreak in West Africa could infect over 20,000 people and spread to more countries, warning that an international effort costing almost half a billion dollars is needed to overcome the outbreak.

The WHO announced a $490 million strategic plan to contain the epidemic over the next nine months, saying it was based on a projection that the virus could spread to 10 further countries beyond the four major countries now affected – Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

 

WHO Says Ebola Outbreak Could Strike 20,000 People

EbolaThe World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday that the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa could infect more than 20,000 people.

The United Nations health agency issued a strategic plan to combat the outbreak in four West African nations where it said the actual number of cases could already be two to four times higher than the reported 3,069. The death toll stands at 1,552.

“This road-map assumes that in many areas of intense transmission, the actual number of cases may be 2-4 fold higher than that currently reported. It acknowledges that the aggregate case load of Ebola Virus Disease could exceed 20,000 over the course of this emergency,” the WHO said.

The deadly outbreak that began in Guinea in March and has spread to neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone as well as to Nigeria, requires a massive and coordinated international response, the WHO said.

A separate outbreak of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo identified as a different strain, is not included in its toll.

“Response activities must be adapted in areas of very intense transmission and particular attention must be given to stopping transmission in capital cities and major ports, thereby facilitating the larger response and relief effort,” the WHO said.

The virus is still being spread in a “substantial number of localities”, aggravating fragile social and economic conditions and has already killed an unprecedented number of health workers, the agency said.

A wider U.N.-led plan being launched by the end of September is “expected to underpin support for the increasingly acute problems associated with food security, protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, primary and secondary health care and education, as well as the longer-term recovery effort that will be needed,” the WHO said.

Ebola: WHO Puts Toll At 1,550

Ebola The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,552 people out of 3,069 known cases in four countries and “continues to accelerate.

The epidemic in the region, the deadliest since the disease was first discovered in 1976, has killed nearly as many people as all the previous known outbreaks combined.

“More than 40 percent of the total number of cases have occurred within the past 21 days. However, most cases are concentrated in only a few localities,” the United Nations health agency said in a statement.

The WHO is later due to launch a new strategic plan for tackling the spread of the virulent disease.

A separate Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, identified as a different strain of the virus, is not included in the latest figures which cover Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

The disease has overwhelmed West Africa’s already fragile health infrastructure. On Wednesday, the head of the African Development Bank said it was causing enormous damage to the economies of the region.

Ebola Deaths In West Africa Reaches 1,427 – WHO

Ebola DeathsThe World Health Organisation (WHO) has said on Friday, that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has led to 1,427 deaths out of 2,615 known cases.

In its latest update, the WHO reported 142 new laboratory-confirmed, probable or suspected cases and 77 more Ebola deaths from four affected countries – Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

Earlier, the WHO said that the scale of the world’s worst Ebola outbreak had been concealed by families hiding infected loved ones in their homes and the existence of “shadow zones” that medics cannot enter.

It is due to issue a global strategy plan towards the end of next week in Geneva.

Ebola Fear: South Africa Bans Travellers From Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

Ebola FearSouth Africa said on Thursday that due to fears over the spread of the Ebola virus, it was banning travellers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from entering the country, apart from its own citizens.

Travellers from Nigeria, where there is a much smaller outbreak, would, however, be allowed entry.

South African citizens returning from the three highest risk countries would be permitted entry but subject to a stricter screening process, a government statement said.

The deadly Ebola disease has killed more than 1,300 people this year in the three small West African states and also has a toehold in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy.

 

75% of Ebola Victims Are Women – Health Officials

EbolaHealth officials have said that about 75 per cent of people contracting Ebola are women because they are often the primary care-givers, nurses and traders.

The disease, which has claimed the lives of at least 1,229 people across Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, is disproportionally infecting women as the outbreak spreads across West Africa.

Liberia’s Minister for Gender and Development, Julia Duncan-Cassell, said that health teams at task force meeting in Liberia found three-quarters of those who were infected or died from Ebola were female.

She told the Washington Post: “Women are the caregivers — if a kid is sick, they say, ‘Go to your mom.’

“The cross-border trade women go to Guinea and Sierra Leone for the weekly markets, [and] they are also the caregivers. Most of the time when there is a death in the family, it’s the woman who prepares the funeral, usually an aunt or older female relative.”

The Ministry of Health in Liberia also said about 75 per cent of the Ebola deaths it has counted so far have been women, Buzz Feed reports.

A spokesperson for Community Response Group and a leader of the Social Mobilization Committee on Ebola, Suafiatu Tunis, said that female family members are also typically expected to nurse and tend to sick family members, increasing their risk of contracting the disease even further.

Women in West Africa are also the traditional birth attendants, nurses and the cleaners and laundry workers in hospitals. Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids, making hospital transmission the likely method by which it would be passed on to large numbers of people.

A WHO spokeswoman in Monrovia, Liberia, Maricel Seeger, said that reaching women and educating them on the disease was crucial to tackling the virus’ spread, as they play a major role as conduits of information in their communities”.

“By reaching the women, they are reaching those who can best protect their families, and their own health,” she said.

Liberia has the highest death toll and its number of cases is rising the fastest. In response, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has ordered West Point sealed off and imposed a night-time curfew.

At least 50,000 people live on the half-mile-long point, which is one of the poorest and most densely populated neighbourhoods of the capital.

Ebola Virus: Abia Govt. Organises Sensitization Campaign For Civil Servants

Ebola virus Following the outbreak of Ebola Virus in Nigeria, the Abia State Government has organized a one-day sensitization and enlightenment campaign on Ebola disease for all the civil servants in the state.

This was to create more awareness on precautionary measures as well as attitudinal change towards handling things that involve mucus membranes of the body.

The Director, Public Health and Disease Control, State Ministry Of Health, Franklin Orji, disclosed that the campaign would ensure that Abia civil servants are equipped with adequate and genuine information concerning the diseases. It would also give information about how to check its spread from one person to another.

Some of the civil servants, after the seminar, disclosed that they had learnt a lot concerning the spread, symptoms and preventive measures of the Ebola Virus and promised to put it to work.

Some of them also shared how they intend to put the recommendations to work in their offices and homes.

In the mean time, prevention and careful precautionary measures might be the most effective and needed tools to minimize the spread of Ebola Disease.

The event was a collaborative effort by the State Government and stakeholders in the health sector.

FG Says Two More Nigerians Have Been Confirmed With Ebola Virus Disease

Ebola virus diseaseThe Federal Government has announced that two more Nigerians have been confirmed to have contracted the Ebola virus disease.

So far, three Nigerians have contracted the Ebola virus disease, and health experts say case fatality for Nigeria is 28.6%.

A total of 139 contacts have been put on surveillance.