Ebola Devastates Long-Term Health

ebolaDoctors from the US National Institutes of Health believe that most people who survive an Ebola infection will have long-lasting health problems.

The BBC reported that their studies on survivors in Liberia showed large numbers had developed weakness, memory loss and depressive symptoms in the six month after being discharged from an Ebola unit. Other patients were “actively suicidal” or still having hallucinations.

More than 17,000 people in West Africa survived the Ebola infection.

The evidence, being presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Neurology, is an early glimpse at a much wider study of long-term health problems after Ebola.

The initial analysis, on 82 survivors, showed that most had severe neurological problems at the height of the infection, including meningitis, hallucinations or falling into a coma.

Six months later, new long-term problems developed.

Infection with Ebola ravages the body. Some of the symptoms could improve with time as the body heals, others may be down to social trauma as many survivors are ostracised from their families and communities.

But other symptoms, including eye problems, indicate damage to the brain, which may not heal.

Ebola: Reps Call For Compensation For Medical Victims

Human TraffickingThe House of Representatives in Nigeria has urged the Federal and State governments concerned to compensate the families of Dr. Stella Adadevoh and other health workers who died of the Ebola Virus Disease.

In plenary on Tuesday, a lawmaker, Olajumoke Okoya-Thomas, said that the gallant and patriotic role played by late Dr. Adadevoh and her team in curbing the spread of the disease in Nigeria deserved to be rewarded.

The house also observed a moment of silence in their honour and urged that the Nigerian government immortalises the late doctor by naming a medical institution in her honour.

Lawmakers also commended the Federal and State governments for the effective action taken to halt the spread of the disease.

Late Dr. Adadevoh played a major role in ensuring that the index patient,  a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer, did not leave the hospital after he tested positive for Ebola virus.

The Nigerian president had dedicated Nigeria’s Ebola-free declaration by the World Health Organization on October 20 to health workers and to Nigerians.

NLC Commends FG for Victory Over Ebola

nlcThe Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed delight with the cheering news of Nigeria being declared free of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In a statement issued in Kaduna on Monday, Vice President of the Union, Issa Aremu, said that Nigeria’s victory against Ebola is a sign of good governance which must be sustained, and also urged the Federal, state and local governments to use the same zeal in the fight against malaria and other killer diseases that are ravaging the country.

The NLC Vice President commended the efforts and measures taken by the Federal Government and state governments, particularly the Lagos State Government and all stakeholders to curb the spread of the disease in Nigeria.

Part of the text reads; “It is a mark of good governance that Nigeria applied a bi-partisan national approach to curb and curtail an epidemic of a disease without a cure and record a globally acclaimed achievement. We must apply same approach to eradicate polio, malaria and cholera.”

As the country celebrate the feat, Aremu cautioned of any form of complacency by both the government and the citizens, tasking relevant government agencies to remain on duty to guard against any new infection in Nigeria.

This, he said, would be sustained if government would strengthen the public healthcare system, motivate health workers and continue compulsory screening on the nation’s boarders, airports, seaports and ensure the use of hand sanitizers at all times.

The NLC Vice President expressed further that Nigeria’s victory cannot be sustained if the Ebola disease continues to ravage other West African countries like Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

He, therefore, urged the Nigerian Government to give necessary support to the neighbouring West African countries being ravaged by the Ebola disease.

Jonathan Dedicates WHO ‘Ebola-free’ Declaration To Health Workers

JONATHANPresident Goodluck Jonathan has dedicated the declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) that Nigeria is now officially Ebola-free to the many patriotic health workers, volunteers and ordinary Nigerians who worked tirelessly to contain the Ebola Virus Disease.

The WHO Ebola-free certification came on Monday, 42 days after the last case of the Ebola Virus Disease was reported.

Nigeria recorded six more deaths after the index Ebola patient, a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer died on July 25.

Most of the dead were health workers, who President Jonathan said paid “the ultimate price, to stop the deadly virus in its track”.

A statement by the spokesman for the President, Dr Ruben Abati, said President Jonathan also reiterated his appreciation of the contributions of state governments, WHO and other international health organisations, relatives of infected persons and other Nigerians, who either courageously underwent the rigours of being quarantined or complied with all directives issued by health authorities to defeat the virus.

“Nigeria’s globally-acclaimed success against Ebola is a testimony to what Nigerians can achieve if they set aside their differences and work together,” President Jonathan said.

He called on Nigerians to strive to replicate the unity of purpose and the “all-hands-on-deck approach” adopted against Ebola in other areas of national life.

Continue active screening

Several nations had applauded Nigeria’s success in containing the virus disease that had killed over 4,400 persons since outbreak started in March, but President Jonathan, however, warned that the entire country must remain fully alert and vigilant against the re-entry of the virus.

In its declaration statement, the WHO had warned that while “we have won a battle against Ebola, the war will only truly end when West Africa, Africa and the world are declared free of Ebola,”a view that president Jonathan also emphasised.

The President consequently directed that all the anti-Ebola measures taken after the entry of the virus into Nigeria should remain in place and that health officials should continue to actively screen persons entering the country through its air, land and sea borders for any sign of the virus.

He also urged all Nigerians to continue to follow the anti-Ebola  advisories on sanitation and personal hygiene issued by Federal and State Health authorities.

First Person Diagnosed With Ebola In U.S. Dies

Texas hospital.The first person diagnosed with Ebola Virus Disease in the United States, a Liberian national, Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital in Texas, a hospital spokesman said.

Mr Duncan died on Wednesday morning.

“It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7:51 am,” hospital spokesman Wendell Watson said in an emailed statement.

Duncan became ill after arriving in the Texas city from Liberia on September 20 to visit family, heightening concerns the world’s worst Ebola outbreak on record could spread outside of the three worst-hit West African countries.

About 48 people with whom Duncan had been in contact are being monitored.

Ebola has killed more than 3,400 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea since the outbreak began in March, nearly half of all those infected, according to the World Health Organization.

While several American patients have been flown to the United States from West Africa for treatment, Duncan was the first person to start showing symptoms of the disease on U.S. soil.

A Spanish nurse who treated a priest who worked in the region is also infected.

Duncan was able to fly to the United States from Liberia’s capital Monrovia, which is at the epicentre of the Ebola outbreak, because he did not have a fever when screened at the airport and filled out a questionnaire saying he had not been in contact with anyone infected with Ebola.

Liberian officials have since said that he lied on the questionnaire and had been in contact with a pregnant woman who later died of the disease.

Ebola can take as long as three weeks before its victims show symptoms, at which point the disease becomes contagious. Ebola, which can cause fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, spreads through contact with bodily fluids such as blood or saliva.

Duncan began feeling ill shortly after his arrival in Texas. He went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas on Sept. 25, but was initially sent home with antibiotics. His condition worsened, he returned Sept. 28 by ambulance and was diagnosed with the disease.

“The past week has been an enormous test of our health system, but for one family it has been far more personal. Today they lost a dear member of their family. They have our sincere condolences, and we are keeping them in our thoughts,” David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a statement.

Officials have said as many as 48 people may have been exposed to the disease by Duncan, and that the 10 people at highest risk are cooperating with public health authorities by staying in quarantine voluntarily. The other 38 people who may have been exposed are being checked routinely for fever.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said he was confident the disease would not spread widely within the United States. U.S. officials are also expanding their response in West Africa.
Reuters

Obama Stresses Need To End Extreme Violence

Barack Obama.US President, Barack Obama, has asked world leaders to tackle the roots of terrorism and extreme violence around by offering alternatives to young people who are attracted to militancy.

Laying out the American leadership vision in a UN General Assembly speech, Mr Obama pointed out that the world needs a new blueprint to deal with the terror, conflict, climate and health challenges it faces.

The US President said the Ebola outbreak, Islamist militancy and Russian aggression needed addressing.

According to him, the world was at a crossroads between “war and peace”, “disorder and integration”, and “fear and hope”.

Mr Obama told representatives of 193 nations, “On issue after issue, we cannot rely on a rule-book written for a different century.”

“If we lift our eyes beyond our borders – if we think globally and act co-operatively – we can shape the course of this century as our predecessors shaped the post-World War Two age.”

“Network Of Death”

Sharply critical of Russian actions in Ukraine, Mr Obama said it was an example of what happens when countries do not respect international laws and norms.

He called on Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to follow “the path of diplomacy and peace and the ideals this institution is designed to uphold”.

In his speech he called on the world to join him in this effort to degrade and ultimately destroy this militant organisation, what he described as a “network of death”.

The president outlined America’s role as the lead player in a coalition of more than 50 countries committed to defeating Islamic State militants.
“We reject any suggestion of a clash of civilisations,” he said.

“Belief in permanent religious war is the misguided refuge of extremists who cannot build or create anything, and therefore peddle only fanaticism and hate.”

The US has carried out more than 194 air strikes against the militants in Iraq since August.

He also addressed the challenges of tackling Ebola in West Africa, forming a strong international coalition on climate change and moving forward on nuclear talks with Iran.

Mr Obama, however, admitted the US had sometimes failed to live up to its ideals but said he welcomed the world’s scrutiny.

The US, he said, held “an unyielding belief in the ability of individual men and women to change their communities and countries for the better”.
Opening the debate, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that human rights were “under attack”.

“From barrel bombs to beheadings, from the deliberate starvation of civilians to the assault on hospitals, UN shelters and aid convoys, human rights and the rule of law are under attack,” he told the assembly.

Ebola: Health Minister Says No More Contacts Under Surveillance

Onyebuchi Chukwu on Ebola Virus.Nigeria no longer has any Ebola contacts under surveillance, the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, said on Wednesday.

Professor Chukwu told a gathering at the on-going 69th UN General Assembly in New York that all contacts had completed 21 days of observation and had been discharged.

Those discharged include the remaining 25 Ebola contacts located in Port Harcourt area, he said.

As it stands, the total number of confirmed Ebola Virus Disease cases recorded in Nigeria remains 19, with 12 survivors and seven deaths.

The virus was brought into Nigeria in July by a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer, who died on July 25 at a hospital in Lagos.

His death triggered surveillance and isolation of primary contacts in Lagos to contain the spread of the virus.

Six more deaths were, however, recorded both in Lagos and Port Harcourt, with the Port Harcourt cases resulting after a contact under surveillance left Lagos for Port Harcourt without authorisation.

The World Health Organization has commended Nigeria’s effort in containing the virus in a city like Lagos with over 20 million population.

Senate Passes Public Health Bill

Senator David Mark, Senate President.The Senate in Nigeria has passed a bill to establish a public health system to guarantee quarantine, isolation and emergency health procedures.

The decision of Senate to pass the bill into law on Tuesday maybe connected with the onslaught of the Ebola Virus Disease in some West African countries, but experts say it has been brought under control in Nigeria.

It is a bill that seeks the development of a comprehensive plan to provide for a co-ordinated and appropriate response in the event of public health emergency.

It will also enhance the early detection of a health emergency and allow the immediate investigation of such emergency by gaining access to individual’s health information under specified circumstances.

The act also seeks to grant federal and state officials the authority to use an appropriate property as necessary for the case, treatment, vaccination and housing of patients and to destroy contaminated facilities or materials.

Speaking at the Tuesday plenary, the deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said that it was necessary to enact laws to deal challenges thrown up by the Ebola Virus Disease that claimed seven lives in Nigeria between July and August.

Ebola Could Strike 20,000 In Six Weeks And “Rumble On For Years” – Study

Ebola Health Workers.Researchers have said that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa could infect 20,000 people as soon as early November unless rigorous infection control measures are implemented, and might “rumble on” for years in a holding pattern.

In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Imperial College said that infections would continue climbing exponentially unless patients are isolated, contacts traced and communities enlisted.

The WHO, in an initial roadmap issued on August 28, predicted that the virus could strike 20,000 people within the next nine months. The current death toll is at least 2,811 out of 5,864 cases, the U.N. agency says.

The latest study, marking six months from March 23, when the WHO says it was informed of the Ebola outbreak in southeastern Guinea, reflects projections based on the data from a third wave of the virus in Guinea, Sierra Leone and worst-hit Liberia.

“With exponential growth, you’ll see that the case numbers per week go up so that by the second of November, over these three countries our best estimate is over 20,000 cases, confirmed and suspected cases,” the WHO director of strategy, and co-author of article, Dr. Christopher Dye, told a briefing.

Nearly 10,000 of those would be in Liberia, 5,000 in Sierra Leone and nearly 6,000 in Guinea, he said. But those numbers would only come about with no enhanced infection control.

“Everyone is certainly working very hard to make sure this is a not the reality that we will be seeing,” Dye said. “I will be surprised if we hit 20,000 by then,” he later added.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last week that under a $1 billion plan, he would create a special mission to combat the disease and deployed staff to the region.

“If control is completely successful in the way that we know it can be, then Ebola will disappear from the human population of West Africa and probably return to its animal reservoir,” Dye said, noting that fruit bats were probably the reservoir.

But if control efforts are only partly successful, Ebola viral disease in the human population could become “a permanent feature of life in West Africa”, Dye said.Ebola

“The alternative possibility that we’re talking about is that the epidemic simply rumbles on as it has for the last few months for the next few years, on the order of years, rather than months.

“Under those circumstances, the fear is that Ebola will be more or less a permanent feature of the human population. Of course it could be extinguished later on.”

“In the three hardest-hit countries there was a “mixed pattern”, Dye said.

“We see for example in the border areas of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, some areas where there has been no increase in cases for some weeks now. That’s true in Sierra Leone, it’s true in Lofa in northern Liberia, and it’s true in one of the provinces of Guinea.

“So the question that arises is whether we’re actually seeing the beginning of a stationary pattern in this epidemic.

“In two badly affected districts of Sierra Leone, Kenema and Kailahun, close to border areas with Guinea and Liberia, there has been a stationary pattern, he said.

“What we’ve seen in the past weeks there, maybe eight, nine, 10 weeks now, is a pattern of incidence, numbers of cases per week, which has not significantly changed.

“And indeed there are signs that it’s going down. And I say that cautiously, because we’re prepared to be surprised again. That is what I mean by stationary pattern. A steady incidence week on week.”

There are other reassuring signs about the efficacy of infection control measures, he said, but whether the disease’s spread was stabilising would become clear in the next few weeks.

No new cases have been recorded in either Nigeria or Senegal in the last three weeks, corresponding to the 21-day incubation period for developing the virulent virus, whose symptoms include fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.

“It is reassuring in many ways that a disease like Ebola can enter a city of 20 million, namely Lagos, and we are able to stop transmission, or rather the people of Nigeria are able to stop transmission,” Dye said.

But the Liberian capital Monrovia, where the disease has recently spread fastest, was “uncharted territory”, he said.

“Quite honestly if you ask ‘can we stamp Ebola out of Liberia?’ I’m not sure. In principle we know how to do it, but can we do it on the ground? It remains to be seen.”

 

 

Ebola Toll Passes 2,800 But “Contained” In Senegal, Nigeria – WHO

EbolaAn outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has been largely contained in Senegal and Nigeria, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday, but the disease is still spreading elsewhere and has now killed over 2,811 people in the region.

Senegal and Nigeria, the most recent of five nations to record cases of Ebola, implemented strict measures to isolate the ill and track down further possible cases – steps that Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have failed to impose, allowing the disease to take hold in cities and rural communities.

Sierra Leone said it had registered 130 new cases of Ebola during a three-day national lockdown that ended late on Sunday, the most radical move yet to try to contain a disease that has killed around half of those it infects and is crippling some of the weakest countries in West Africa.

The current outbreak was first identified in the forests of southeastern Guinea in March and then spread into neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone, where it overwhelmed weak national health systems.

In Nigeria, 20 cases were recorded and eight people died. There have been no deaths from one confirmed case in Senegal.

“On the whole, the outbreaks in Senegal and Nigeria are pretty much contained,” a WHO statement said.

However, the U.N. agency said that the world’s worst outbreak of the virus remains a “public health emergency of international concern”, which will guarantee it the body’s priority attention.

The international response has failed to match the spread of a disease that has exposed the fragility of the state in Guinea and threatened to undo progress made in rebuilding Liberia and Sierra Leone after their wars of the 1990s.

Donors have since pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and the U.S. Government is scrambling 3,000 soldiers to the region to build an extra 17 treatment centres and train thousands of local medics.

The Pentagon said about 60 U.S. military personnel had arrived in the region so far and another 30-40 are scheduled to arrive in the next few days.

The U.S. plan has been welcomed but aid workers say other rich nations should follow Washington’s lead with cash, supplies and personnel. The WHO has said the world must act quickly to keep the number of cases in the tens of thousands.

The European Union has pledged 140 million euros ($180 million) to fight the virus and Italy’s health minister, Beatrice Lorenzin, said European countries are assessing their resources to plan a coordinated response.

“Only four or five countries in Europe are equipped. We will work together to coordinate the aid effort,” she said, as EU health ministers met in Milan on Monday.

“FOOT SOLDIERS” NEEDED

Ebola has prompted a range of policy measures from African governments, including border closures and travel bans, though none as severe as Sierra Leone, where residents emerged on Monday from a 72-hour lockdown.

Authorities say they reached more than 80 percent of households targeted in their sensitization campaign.

“The outreach was just overwhelming,” head of the Ebola Emergency Operations Centre, Stephen Gaojia, said on Monday.

The country now needs to focus on treatment and case management and it urgently requires treatment centres in all its 14 districts as well as “foot soldiers” in clinics and hospitals, he said.

The government is still waiting for results from a further 39 suspected cases, Gaojia said. There were no new deaths in Guinea, four in Sierra Leone and 39 in Liberia, according to the latest figures from the WHO.

Authorities in Guinea said they have arrested 20 people as part of an investigation into the killing last week of nine members of a delegation attempting to educate people about Ebola in a remote part of the southeast of the country.

The killings underscored how much some rural populations in the affected countries mistrust authorities after years of instability and conflict.

A separate, unrelated, Ebola outbreak has killed 41 people in Democratic Republic of Congo, where there have been 68 cases, WHO said in a statement on the situation as of September 18.

 

Sierra Leone Records 130 New Ebola Cases During 3-day Lockdown

Ebola virus diseaseThe head of the Ebola Emergency Operations Centre, Stephen Gaojia, said on Monday that Sierra Leone recorded 130 new cases of the Ebola virus during a three-day lockdown and it is waiting for test results on a further 39 suspected cases.

The  country had ordered its six million citizens to stay indoors until Sunday night in the most extreme strategy employed by a West African nation since the start of an epidemic that has infected 5,762 people since March and killed 2,793 of those.

“The exercise has been largely successful … The outreach was just overwhelming. There was massive awareness of the disease,” Gaojia said, noting that authorities reached more than 80 per cent of the households they had intended to target.

Sierra Leone now needs to focus on treatment and case management and it urgently needs treatment centres in all its 14 districts as well as “foot soldiers” in clinics and hospitals, he said.

“We need clinicians, epidemiologists, lab technicians, infection-control practitioners and nurses,” he said.

The hemorrhagic fever, which has struck mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, is the worst since Ebola was identified in 1976 in the forests of central Africa. At least 562 have died in Sierra Leone.

The lockdown was intended to allow 30,000 health workers, volunteers and teachers to visit every household. Some argued it might have a negative impact on Sierra Leone’s poor.

France To Set Up Military Hospital To Fight Ebola In West Africa

Ebola
French President Francois Hollande addresses a news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, September 18, 2014.

France will set up a military hospital in West Africa in the coming days as part of France’s contribution to the fight against the Ebola outbreak there, President Francois Hollande said on Thursday.

Hollande said that France’s response to the outbreak would not be limited to a financial contribution to European funds being made available to fight the virus, which the World Health Organization said on Thursday had claimed 2,630 lives so far.

“I have therefore taken the decision to set up a military hospital in the coming days in … the forests of Guinea, in the heart of the outbreak,” Hollande said during a news conference.

Death toll in West Africa Ebola epidemic has reached 2,630 in the worst outbreak of Ebola virus in history, which has so far infected at least 5,357 people in West Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

“The upward epidemic trend continues in the three countries that have widespread and intense transmission – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone,” the United Nations health agency said.

In a separate Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 40 deaths had been reported out of 71 cases by Sept. 15, the WHO said.