DRCongo Records 26 Ebola Deaths In One Day

Health workers are seen inside the ‘red zone’ of an Ebola treatment centre, which was attacked in the early hours of the morning in Butembo. / AFP

 

Twenty-six people died of Ebola in a single day in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province, the highest daily toll since its outbreak nearly nine months ago, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

The current outbreak is the second deadliest on record, after the epidemic that struck West Africa in 2014-2016 and killed more than 11,300 people.

The health ministry it had counted 957 deaths in the country, of which 891 were confirmed cases and 66 suspected ones.

“There were 26 deaths from confirmed cases” on Sunday, April 28, in the northeastern North Kivu province, the ministry said in a statement.

It said of the total deaths of 957, 33 were health workers who had succumbed to the disease.

The DR Congo declared a tenth outbreak of Ebola in 40 years last August in North Kivu before the virus spread into the neighbouring Ituri region.

The epicentre was first located in the rural area of Mangina, but then switched to the town of Beni.

Local organisations say the number of Ebola deaths is rising.

Adding to the logistical hitches are a string of assaults on teams fighting the disease.

A Cameroonian doctor working for the World Health Organization (WHO), Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung, was shot dead on April 19.

“We will not be intimidated… we will finish our work,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a visit to Nord-Kivu on Monday.

“Your security is our priority. We will do everything to protect you,” he added.

AFP

Health Minister Allays Zika Virus Fears In Nigeria

ZikaThe Minister of Health has been giving an update on the outbreak of Lassa fever in different parts of the country, saying the disease has so far affected 20 states of the federation.

Professor Isaac Adewole addressed a press conference in the nation’s capital, Abuja, on Thursday.

“You will all recall that on the 8th of January 2016, I briefed the nation on the current outbreak of Lassa fever that started in December 2015 and which has now affected 20 states of the federation.

“As of today, Nigeria has recorded 176 cases with 108 deaths, giving a case fatality rate of 61.4%.

“It is important that I inform the nation that this current outbreak is under control as evident by decline in new suspected cases, new laboratory confirmed cases and newly reported cases by week.

“Despite this achievement however, you will all agree with me that it will be too dangerous for us as a nation to go complacent at this stage,” he said.

The Minister also dismissed fears about the possible outbreak of Zika virus in Nigeria, saying there is no need to worry.

“Although two African countries have reported Zika infection in the recent outbreak and in the past many others, causal relationship between Zika virus infection, birth defect and neurological syndromes have not been established in this continent.

“Nigerian scientist working in Western Nigeria in 1954 discovered Zika Virus in Nigeria. Further studies in the years 1975 to 1979 show that 40% of Nigerian adults and 25% of Nigerian children have antibodies to Zika Virus, meaning they are protected against this virus.”

2016 Budget Defence: EFCC, Health Ministry Ask For More Funding

EFCCThe Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has appealed for more funding to help it carry out its mandate of checking financial crimes in the country.

This appeal was made by the chairman of the commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes to defend the commission’s 2016 budget.

“I very much believe that even if you’re going to give us everything we have asked for, it will not be adequate but considering the situation we are, there is nothing we can do,” he said.

The EFCC Chairman was also questioned on the agency’s decision to investigate different sectors of the economy.

As work continues on the 2016 budget that is before the National Assembly, committees have been meeting with the representatives of the different arms of the executive to put finishing touches to the over 6 trillion naira budget.

The Minister of Health also brought this same appeal for more funding when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Health.

Prof. Isaac Adewole raised the issue of shortfall in the ministry’s budget.

“When we looked at the budget including submissions from the teaching hospitals, medical centres and agencies, it came down to 347 billion and we got only 335.7 which is about 10%.”

He also touched on the Zika virus that is becoming a global concern, “I want to say that Zika has been with since 1954. About 25% of Nigerians are positive to Zika virus but what has happened is that it has done nothing to us,” he said, while explaining the need for more action.

The Committee on Local Content also scrutinized the budget of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board while the Committee on Science and Technology is also holding its meeting with agencies under its committee.

A lot of the committees are still expected to appear before the 2016 budget would be presented to the House in plenary.

First Zika Virus Case Confirmed In Europe

ZikaA pregnant woman has been diagnosed with the Zika virus in Spain.

This is the first such case in Europe.

The health ministry said the woman had recently returned from Colombia, where it is believed she was infected.

Zika, which is spreading through the Americas, has been linked to babies being born with underdeveloped brains.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the microcephaly condition, linked to the mosquito-borne virus, a global public health emergency.

On Thursday, the WHO also advised countries not to accept blood donations from people who had travelled to Zika-affected regions.

The link between Zika infection and microcephaly has not been confirmed and the risks at different stages of pregnancy are unknown.

The WHO has predicted that at least four million people could be infected with Zika in the Americas in 2016.

The agency expressed belief that most victims would not develop symptoms, stressing that the infection had been linked to brain defects in babies.

Conflicting Death Figures Trail Cairo Stadium Mishap

Egypt-clash-1Conflicting death toll have been reported after stampede and clashes on Sunday, between police and supporters of Egypt’s Zamalek football club at a game in Cairo, the capital city of Egypt.

While some sources said at least 22 persons were killed, other sources said 40 were killed, with dozens injured.

The reason for the discrepancy in numbers between the health ministry and the public prosecutor’s office was not immediately clear.

Most of the dead were suffocated when the crowd scampered for safety after police used tear gas to clear the fans trying to force their way into a league match between two Cairo clubs, Zamalek and Enppi, medics and witnesses said.

Soccer matches are often a flash-point for violence in Egypt where 72 fans were killed at a match in Port Said in February 2012. Since then, Egypt has curbed the number of people allowed to attend and supporters have often tried to storm stadiums they are banned from entering.

Outside the Cairo hospital, where injured persons were being treated, dozens of youths wearing Zamalek T-shirts seemed shocked as families arrived to see if their relatives were safe.

A mother cried and shouted when she found the name of her son on a list of the dead posted by hospital staff lamenting that she had told him to leave soccer matches.

Relations between security forces and fan groups known as Ultras have been tense since the 2011 popular uprising, when football supporters played a key role in ending the rule of autocrat Hosni Mubarak

“Huge numbers of Zamalek club fans came to Air Defense Stadium to attend the match … and tried to storm the stadium gates by force, which prompted the troops to prevent them from continuing the assault,” the interior ministry said.

Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered that an investigation begin immediately, while the incident prompted the government to postpone the Egyptian Premier League indefinitely, the prime minister’s office said in a statement, adding that he also ordered the arrest of the leaders of the Zamalek supporters group, Ultras White Knights, after Sunday’s incident.

On their Facebook page, the Ultras White Knights described the incident as “martyrs” and accused security forces of a “massacre”.

Despite the violence, the match went ahead and ended with a 1-1 draw.

The Egyptian Football Federation said it had reversed an earlier decision to allow fans to return to the stadiums by the start of the second half of the season. The original decision had been taken only a few days ago.

Shortly after that, the Cabinet said in a statement that the national league championship would be postponed indefinitely.

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 Virus Kills Doctor In Sierra Leone

 

Ebola outbreak in Uganda The world most dreaded disease, Ebola Virus has claimed the life of a  doctor leading the fight against the  outbreak  of the disease on Tuesday, the country’s chief medical officer said.

The death of Sheik Umar Khan, who was credited with treating more than 100 patients, follows those of dozens of local health workers and the infection of two American medics in neighboring Liberia, highlighting the dangers faced by staff trying to halt the disease’s spread across West Africa.

Ebola is believed to have killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in February, according to the World Health Organisation.

The contagious disease, which has no known cure, has symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhea and internal and external bleeding. The fatality rate of the current outbreak is around 60 percent although Ebola can kill up to 90 percent of those who catch it.

The 39-year-old Khan, hailed as a “national hero” by the Health Ministry, had been moved to a treatment ward run by the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres in the far north of Sierra Leone.

He died less than a week after his diagnosis was announced, and shortly before President Ernest Bai Koroma arrived to visit his treatment center in the northeastern town of Kailahun.

“It is a big and irreparable loss to Sierra Leone as he was the only specialist the country had in viral hemorrhagic fevers,” said the chief medical officer, Brima Kargbo.