Bodies Dumped In Streets As West Africa Attempt To Curb Ebola

ebola 2The relatives of Ebola victims in Liberia resist government orders and dumped dead bodies in the street as West African government attempt to enforce measures to curb an outbreak of the virus that has killed at least 887 people.

Nigeria recorded its first death of Ebola in late July and according to the authorities in Lagos, eight people came in contact with the deceased Liberia-US citizen, Patrick Sawyer, were showing signs of the deadly disease.

The outbreak was detected in March in the remote forest regions of Guinea, where the death toll is rising in neighboring countries such as Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The authorities deployed troops to quarantine the border areas where 70 per cent of cases have been detected.

Those three countries announced a raft of tough measures last week to contain the disease, shutting schools and imposing quarantines on victim’s homes, amid fears the incurable virus would overrun healthcare systems.

In Liberia’s ramshackle ocean-front capital Monrovia, still scarred by a 1989-2003 civil war, relatives of Ebola victims were dragging bodies onto the dirt streets rather than face quarantine, officials said.

The Information Minister, Lewis Brown, said some people may be alarmed by regulations imposing the decontamination of victims’ homes and tracking of their friends and relatives.

With less than half of those infected surviving the disease, many Africans regard Ebola isolation wards as death traps.

They are therefore removing the bodies from their homes and are putting them out in the street and exposing themselves to the risk of being contaminated,” Brown said “We’re asking people to please leave the bodies in their homes and we’ll pick them up.”

According to Brown, authorities had begun cremating bodies on Sunday, after local communities opposed burials in their neighborhoods, and had carried out 12 cremations on Monday.

Meanwhile, in the border region of Lofa County, troops were deployed on Monday night to start isolating effected communities.

The Finance Minister said the country’s growth forecast for the year was no longer looking realistic as a result of the outbreak.

Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister, Samura Kamara, also said that the virus had cost the government $10 million so far and was hampering efforts to stimulate growth.
 

Nurse Who Treated Liberian-American Ebola Victim Is Dead

ebola victimOne of the nurses that attended to the Liberian-American Ebola victim, Patrick Sawyer in Lagos is dead.

The nurse, whose name is withheld by the Health Ministry, is the first Nigerian to be killed by the virus.

A statement by the Minister of Health , Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu said Nigeria has now recorded seven confirmed cases of Ebola, including that of the Liberian-American who died in Lagos.

“The first one, of cause was the Liberian man that died last week. While the nurse that treated him, who died on Wednesday, was the second case. The other five cases are currently under treatment at the isolation ward in Lagos.

“It is important to note that all the Nigerians thus far diagnosed of the Ebola Virus disease were primary contact of the index case,” he said

Ebola: Medical Practitioners Concerned With Spread Of Virus

EbolaA Medical Practitioner, Ramon Moronkola, has revealed that the medical practitioners in Nigeria were concerned with the level at which the Ebola Virus spreads, as the doctors remained the most at risk of contacting the disease.

Dr Moronkola, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, noted that the doctors were liable to get the virus due to contact with patients; through not only physical contact but examination of patients through taking their body fluids and so on.

He warned that the virus, which can be detected in only few laboratories in the country, takes 2 to 21 days before the patient starts showing symptoms and urged health workers to take standard precautions in taking care of every patient.

Moronkola also provided more information about the virus, explaining that an Ebola patient is unlikely to be contagious or infectious within the 2 to 21 days incubation interval, and that patients can only spread the virus if they move around during the period the virus begins to manifest.

Dr Moronkola commended the Ministry of Health for having already started educating the general public in order to contain the spread of the Ebola virus among individuals.

Asked if an infected patient who takes a bath in the stream can infect other users of the stream, the doctor affirmed that the entire community would be at risk of having the virus.

He further advised that other NGO’s should take it as a point of duty to help in spreading the information so that people would be armed with information and not go blindly to the virus.

He advised limited contacts with suspected case of Ebola or with people who have fever. He also recommended the use of hand sensitizers and 70% alcohol.

Dr Moronkola called on Nigerians to imbibe the habit of always washing their hands and the use of disinfectants or to limit the use of  public toilets and facilities, adding that the unnecessary consumption of bush meat should also be avoided.

On the strike of the doctors, he believes that it is the duty of public health professionals to ensure that the spread of the virus is contained, since the disease is a public health matter, whether there was a strike or not. He noted that doctors should be appreciated, making reference particularly to the Nigerian doctor who first identified the disease in Nigeria on the Liberian, Patrick Sawyer.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

UK’s Health Department Tests Dead Air Passenger For Ebola Virus

ebola tAn Ebola Virus test carried out after the death of a female passenger that arrived in the UK from Gambia has come out negative, the UK Department of Health said on Monday.

The passenger’s symptoms had not suggested she was an Ebola victim until the test was carried out because she had travelled from West Africa.

Over 728 people died of Ebola in different countries such as, Guniea, Liberia and Sierra Leone this year, in the worst-ever outbreak disease.

The Department for Health said the test on the elderly woman, who landed at Gatwick Airport, came back negative on Sunday afternoon.

According to the Public Health office in England, the risk to UK remains very low.

Ebola virus spreads through human contact with a sufferer’s bodily fluids.

The symptoms can lead to external hemorrhaging from areas like eyes and gums, and internal bleeding which can lead to organ failure. The current mortality rate is about 55%.

The Director of Global Public Health at Public Health England (PHE), Dr Brian McCloskey,  said: “There was no health risk to other passengers or crew, as the passenger did not have symptoms during the flight.

“It was considered very unlikely to be a case of Ebola but testing was done as a precaution, and was negative.

“The correct procedures were followed to confirm there was no reason to quarantine the airplane, the passengers or staff. PHE can confirm there was no public health risk around the sad death of this individual.”

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, said the government is taking the outbreak, and the threat to the UK, “very seriously”.

The Ministers, have discussed what precautionary measures could be taken if any UK nationals in West Africa becomes infected with Ebola.

Ebola: Health Specialist Says Nigeria Is Not Yet Safe

Dr DavidsonA Public Health Specialist, Simbo Davidson, says that Nigeria cannot yet categorically say that it has no cases of the Ebola virus disease in Nigeria.

Speaking on the Friday edition of Channels Television’s Sunrsie Daily, she said that the declaration of the health authorities that there had been no cases yet was as it concerned transmission via the entry, treatment and the death of a Liberian Ebola victim in Lagos for which several people had been screened for possible contact.

Therefore, there were still possibilities that other carriers of the virus might have entered the country through other means asides the airports which the authorities were focusing on, particularly through the country’s land borders that experience a lot of human traffic between the West African countries.

She highlighted the need to focus on providing screening facilities at Nigeria’s land borders, as it remained one of the most likely channels through which the virus could spread. She gave a reminder that body fluids like sweat could transmit the virus and this was highly possible through contacts as simple as sitting together in a bus.

On the view in some quarters that there had been too much panic as the outbreak might have been exaggerated, she disagreed, saying rather that Nigeria was actually underrating the virus, an act which she said was very dangerous.

Highlighting the possibility of under-reporting of the disease, she noted that the number of casualties represented that of reported cases only and this meant the situation could be worse as many victims do not get to the hospital before they die.

She cited the example of South-Africa and the outbreak of a similar disease in 2008. She recalled that the country did not wait to verify its discovery of a scientifically proven cure for the virus but went ahead to use it in order to save its citizens and the proactive decision turned out to be the solution.

She said that there was need for Nigeria to engage in better planning to control the spread of the disease, as there was need to have more screening and isolation centres in every Local Government Area.

There had been reports that the Ebola virus can be cured by the consumption of Kolanut, but Dr. Davidson dismissed the claims as she explained that there was no scientific evidence for the claim. She, however, noted that there had been advanced research into a possible anti-viral cure in a Helsinki University and she expected African countries to be more proactive to explore such opportunities as South Africa did.

She maintained that the strategies taken by many of the countries was not effective, explaining that the fact that it had started crossing borders showed a failure of their approach.

The actual origin of the Ebola virus also came to the fore and Dr. Davidson said that the actual source of the virus cannot be verified yet as many animals have been mentioned including monkeys and some rodents.

She also explained that trying to clear out the animals would be a wrong strategy to engage in controlling the disease, as there was no actual population of animals that can be gathered together and killed.

She noted that the Ebola virus cannot be likened to the Avian Flu that is transmitted by poultry animals which are usually together in a farm.

Dr. Davidson recommended improved hygiene and early testing for every symptom as one of the best ways to control the disease from spreading in Nigeria.

For the countries with already pronounced outbreaks, she provided a number of recommendations including a ban on parties, social gatherings or other situations that would gather several people together.

She also warned against unnecessary visits to the homes of people who had fallen sick as one might not know the actual nature of the illness. She added, “Let’s stop shaking hands if possible.”

WHO To Spend $100million In West Africa

who-logo1The World Health Organisation says it’s concerned about the spread of Ebola in West Africa and that it plans to commit $100 million dollars in fighting the outbreak.

This life-line is expected to be announced on Friday by head of the World Health Organisation and leaders of West African nations affected by Ebola disease.

The meeting is scheduled to hold in Guinea on Friday, where the initiative will be launched.

Ebola spreads through human contact with a sufferer’s bodily fluids. Initial flu-like symptoms can lead to external hemorrhaging from areas like eyes and gums, and internal bleeding which can lead to organ failure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday issued a warning to avoid nonessential travel to the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. This Level 3 travel warning is a reflection of the worsening Ebola outbreak in the region.

The CDC Director, Tom Frieden, refereed to the outbreak of the disease in West Africa as the biggest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history.

Ebola Scare Hit Anambra

ebola-outbreak-in-ugandaPanic is spreading in Anambra State, South-East Nigeria, over fears that the deadly Ebola virus might have reached the state.

Tension rose when the news spread that the corpse of an indigene of the state had been brought in from Liberia and deposited in a mortuary in Oyi Local Government Area of the state.

However it has not been confirmed that the deceased died of the Ebola virus.

In a telephone interview with Channels Television on Thursday evening, the State Commissioner for Health, Jehospahphat Akabuike, confirmed the incident, saying, however, that the mortuary has been cordoned off and all the attendants and workers have been quarantined, pending further tests.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has reassured Nigerians and other residents that there is no new case of Ebola outbreak in the country.

Addressing a joint news conference in Abuja, Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, said that two persons who had primary contact with the late Patrick Sawyer, who died of Ebola virus in Lagos have been quarantined, while 69 others were under close surveillance.

The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, who also spoke at the news conference said that the Federal Government was doing all it could to ensure that no other case of Ebola is recorded in the country.

34 Killed In Stampede At Guinea Beach Concert

_76626338_dsc_0277At least 34 people, including several children, were killed in a stampede at a beachside rap concert celebrating the end of Ramadan in Guinea’s capital Conakry, medical sources said on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Donka hospital in the capital to visit the injured and identify the dead. A Reuters reporter saw the bodies of three children among the dead. Witnesses put the number at around ten.

“There are currently 34 bodies in the morgue. The list of injured keeps growing,” a medical source told Reuters, requesting anonymity. “The oldest among them can’t be more than 20. There are young girls among them,” he said.

The presidency declared a week of mourning. The head of a government agency for entertainment had been removed from his post following the incident overnight, the presidency added.

Witnesses said the event was attended by up to 10,000 people, mostly children and youths, who came to see popular local rap groups ‘Banlieuzart’ and ‘Instinct Killers’.

In January, six youths were killed on another beach in Conakry when a bridge collapsed during New Year’s celebrations. Conakry’s beaches are small compared to other regional capitals like Dakar and Freetown and entrances and exits are often narrow.

The stampede, which occurred during celebrations to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in mainly Muslim Guinea, comes at a time when health workers are stretched by an outbreak of Ebola.

The deadly tropical virus was first detected in the poor, mineral-rich West African country in February and has since spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing more than 670 people, according to the World Health Organization.

No Fresh Case Of Ebola In Lagos- LASG

ebola2Lagos State Government on Wednesday has for the umpteenth time reiterated that no fresh case of the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease has been found in the State or any part of the country.

According to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr (Mrs) Yewande Adeshina, none of the persons said to have come in contact with the late Liberian victim of the Ebola disease, Mr Pat Sawyer, has manifested unusual body temperature or any other symptom of the dreaded virus.

She explained that all the 59 persons who were in close contact with the deceased Liberian in Nigeria are hale and hearty and have not exhibited any unusual symptoms, just as there has been no case of the dreaded disease from the country’s borders.

Also, the Commissioner for Information, Lateef Ibirogba has advised the citizenry to be wary of the activities of fraudsters who are making spurious claims about their ability to provide cure for the Ebola Virus, urging them to always contact health providers to report unusual feelings noticed.

He cautioned the people to desist from sending panic text messages  about the Ebola Disease that could heighten tension and create anxiety.

He also called on those who want to make cheap money from the case to desist from their strange claims of cure for the disease lest they run foul of the law, as only medical solutions are known to be appropriate for the disease.

He reminded residents of the State to make use of the emergency phone numbers- 08023169485, 08033086660, 08033065303, 08055281442 and 08055329229 provided to contact health authorities in case anyone with observed symptoms of the Ebola disease is noticed.

He also advised residents to observe the highest level of personal environmental hygiene adding that they should visit hospitals or Primary Health Centres nearest to them to report strange feelings noticed.

No Fresh Case Of Ebola In Lagos – LASG

ebola2The Lagos State Government on Wednesday again reiterated that no fresh case of the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease has been found in the State or any part of the country.

According to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr. (Mrs) Yewande Adeshina, none of the persons said to have come in contact with the late Liberian victim of the Ebola Virus Disease, Mr Pat Sawyer, has manifested unusual body temperature or any other symptom of the dreaded virus.

She explained that all the 59 persons who were in close contact with the deceased Liberian in Nigeria are hale and hearty and have not exhibited any unusual symptoms, just as there has been no case of the dreaded disease from the country’s borders.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Information, Lateef Ibirogba, has advised Lagosians to be wary of the activities of fraudsters who are making spurious claims about their ability to provide cure for the Ebola Virus Disease, urging them to always contact health providers to report unusual feelings noticed.

He cautioned the people to desist from sending panicky text messages round about the Ebola Disease that could heighten tension and create anxiety.

He also called on those who want to make cheap money from the case to desist from their strange claims of cure for the disease lest they run afoul of the law, as only medical solutions are known to be appropriate for the disease.

He reminded residents of the state to make use of the emergency phone numbers: 08023169485, 08033086660, 08033065303, 08055281442 and 08055329229 provided to contact health authorities in case anyone with observed symptoms of the Ebola disease is noticed.

The Commissioner further advised residents to observe the highest level of personal environmental hygiene, adding that they should visit hospitals or Primary Health Centres nearest to them to report strange feelings noticed.

Liberia Shuts Schools, Quarantines Communities In Bid To Halt Ebola

ebola2Liberia announced on Wednesday the quarantine of a number of communities and the closure of schools across the country, the toughest measures yet imposed by a West African government in a bid to halt the worst Ebola outbreak on record.

Security forces in Liberia were ordered to enforce the measures, part of an action plan that included placing all non-essential government workers on 30-day compulsory leave.

As of July 23, 672 deaths have been blamed on Ebola in Liberia, neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone, according to World Health Organisation figures. Liberia accounted for just under one-fifth of those deaths.

“This is a major public health emergency. It is fierce, deadly and many of our countrymen are dying and we need to act to stop the spread,” Lewis Brown, Liberia’s information minister, told Reuters.

“We need the support of the international community now more than ever. We desperately need all the help we can get.”

Referring to the orders issued to the security forces to impose the plan, he added: “We are hoping there will be a level of understanding and that there will not be a need for exceptional force.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Liberian health officials said that an isolation unit for Ebola victims in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, was overrun with cases and health workers are being forced to treat up to 20 new patients in their homes.

Protests by the local community against the construction of a new isolation unit at Elwa Hospital have ended, said Tolbert Nyenswah, an assistant Minister of Health, but patients with Ebola symptoms will have to wait at home until work is finished.

“The staff here are overwhelmed. This is a humanitarian crisis in Liberia,” Nyenswah told Reuters by telephone. “People are being given care at their homes until we can move them to the new unit.”

Nyenswah said that the suspected patients were being treated by trained medical staff with full protective gear, but it would take at least 24-36 hours to build the new unit.

Initial resistance to building a new isolation unit highlighted the fear and mistrust health workers have faced across West Africa as they battle the outbreak, which has strained the region’s weak health systems.

Dozens of local health workers have died treating patients and two Americans working for Samaritan’s Purse, a U.S. charity operating in Liberia, were infected over the past week.

Samaritans Purse said on Wednesday that Kent Brantly, a doctor working for Samaritan’s Purse, and Nancy Writebol, a colleague who was also volunteering in Liberia, had shown a slight improvement but were still in serious condition.

The organization said that it was withdrawing non-essential staff from the country because of instability and security issues.

American Doctor, Missionary With Ebola Show Improvement

ebolaTwo American aid workers infected with Ebola in Africa while responding to an outbreak of the deadly virus have shown slight improvement but remain in serious condition, a relief organization said on Wednesday.

Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary, Nancy Writebol, were part of a team in Liberia from two North Carolina-based Christian relief groups, Samaritan’s Purse and SIM. The groups plan to evacuate nonessential personnel from Liberia as Ebola cases there mount.

“Because of instability and ongoing security issues in the area, Samaritan’s Purse is making arrangements for nonessential personnel to leave the country,” the organization said in a statement.

There is no known cure for the highly contagious disease, which has killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since February. The fatality rate of the current Ebola outbreak, the worst on record, is about 60 percent, health officials said.

Writebol, who helped disinfect the protective suits worn by medical personnel such as Brantly inside the isolation ward at a care center in Monrovia, Liberia, is “fighting through” the disease, her son said on Wednesday.

Jeremy Writebol told NBC’s “Today” show that his mother was moving around on her own and receiving a lot of fluids as she is treated in isolation. “She’s working real hard to get through this,” her son said.

Ken Isaacs, a vice president at Samaritan’s Purse, told CNN it was believed that a local staff member had come to work already infected with the virus. That staffer has since died.

“We think it was in the scrub-down area where the disease was passed to both Nancy and Kent,” Isaacs said.