West African countries intensify efforts to contain Ebola outbreak

Courtesy Homeland Security News Wire

Togo-based, pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone, and growing fears of the rapidly spreading Ebola virus have led the Liberian football association to cancel games.

Last week, an American citizen, Patrick Sawyer, who worked for the Liberian government, became violently ill on an ASKY flight to Lagos, Nigeria and died two days later in a Lagos hospital.

“The suspension of flights to Freetown and Monrovia by ASKY is related to the fight against the spread of the Ebola virus,” said Afoussath Traore, a spokesman for the company.

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Ebola Kits Sent To National Guard Units In All 50 States

Courtesy: Inquisitr.com

Ebola bio kits have been deployed to National Guard units in all 50 states, according to a Committee on Armed Services report. According to the government document was created in April to address mounting concerns that the Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus could spread outside of Africa.

The portable Ebola kits are reportedly designed for “low probability, high consequence” scenarios. Department of Defense Chemical and Biological Defense Executive Officer Carmen J. Spencer said the bio systems are “rapid, reliable, and provide simultaneous identification of specific biological agents and pathogens.” Approximately 340 Joint Biological Agent Identification and Diagnostic System (JBAIDS) units have reportedly been given to emergency response personnel.

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Ebola spreads to Nigeria, most populous African nation

Courtesy: Homeland Security News Wire

The Ebola outbreak which has so far left more than 700 people dead and 1,100 infected across three West African countries — Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea — has now spread to Africa’s most populous nation after a Liberian man with a high fever, who traveled to Lagos for an international conference, became sick and vomited on the airplane, and died two days later in a Lagos hospital.  MSN News reports that the sister of the 40-year-old man had recently died of Ebola in Liberia.

Nigerian Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said it was the first case of Ebola to be confirmed in Nigeria since the outbreak was first reported in Guinea three months ago.

“All ports of entry into Nigeria, including airports, seaports and land borders, are placed on red alert,” he said. “Ministry of Health specialists have been positioned in all entry points. Active surveillance has also been stepped up.”

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How Ebola Emerged Out of the Jungle

Submitted Courtesy of Dr. Lisa Cain, African Scientific Institute, Oakland, California from ABC News

ABC News, Jul 28, 2014, 11:56 AM ET

Origin of the disease

The first reported case of the deadly virus came in 1976 and it is named after the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo which was where it was discovered. At the time, the area where the disease was spotted was officially recognized as Zaire. The virus has since spread throughout the region.

Non-human primates, like gorillas and chimpanzees, have been cited by the World Health Organization as possible infection sources for humans, but experts have realized that they are not the source of the problem. The apes have been deemed “accidental hosts,” meaning that they catch the disease and then pass it along but are not the initial “reservoir” source that produces the virus.

There are five different strains of the disease, four of which can spread to humans while the fifth only affects primates.

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Health Minister Debunks Outbreak of Ebola Virus in Nigeria, Says Is Dengue Fever

Courtesy of BEMA

The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan has denied a report in section of the media on the outbreak of Ebola disease in Nigeria.

The Minister made the clarification in Abuja today when he briefed the Press on the purported rumour of the ebola virus in Nigeria.

He said as a follow up to the report in a section of the media on the outbreak of Ebola disease in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health wishes to inform the general public that laboratory investigation has revealed that it is a case of Dengue Heamorrhagic Fever and not that of Ebola virus as erroneously reported.

He said that the outbreak of the ebola disease was recorded in Guinea which has so far claimed 80 lives adding that the disease  has spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia which they share border with Guinea. He stated categorically that there is no recorded case of Ebola Virus in Nigeria.

He explained that Dengue Heamorrhagic Fever (DHF) is an acute illness of sudden onset that usually follows a benign course with symptoms such as headache, fever, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy), and rashes. At onset of the disease, it mimics Malaria and, often so, it is mistakenly diagnosed as Malaria. However, other signs of Dengue fever which include bleeding gums, bloody diarrhoea, bleeding from the nose and severe pain behind the eyes, red palms and soles differentiate it from Malaria Laboratory tests are usually necessary for its confirmation.

Dr.Alhassan said that prevention of transmission of Dengue Heamrrhagic Fever is similar to the prevention of Malaria. It is therefore very important to give environmental sanitation and mosquito bites control a high priority to reduce mosquito-human contact and also to eliminate multiplication of mosquitoes that are the vectors of the Dengue fever virus.

He reaffirmed that the Laboratories at the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have the capacity to confirm the Dengue Heamorrhagic Fever and other Viral Hemorrhagic fevers adding that the Federal Ministry of Health has intensified surveillance activities on this disease and all States Ministries of Health are alerted.

He stressed that any suspected case should be reported to the nearest health facility including General Hospitals, Federal Medical Centres (FMCs) or Teaching Hospitals where non-specific and symptomatic drugs against this disease have been prepositioned.

He announced that all Nigerian Port Health posts and border medical centres have been put on high alert to screen travellers from countries with confirmed Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever occurrences pointing out that Nigerian citizens travelling to these countries are advised to be careful and should report any illnesses with the above stated symptoms to the nearest health facility.

He said that the Federal Ministry of Health is in the process of enhancing multi-sectoral collaboration with the Livestock Department of Federal Ministry of Agriculture, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), World Health Organisation (WHO), US Centre Disease Control (CDC), etc.


Ebola Pandemic in West Africa. Comprehensive Plan, Holistic Approach. Medical Waste Considerations

Courtesy of BEMA

As part of any comprehensive plan during disease outbreak (endemic, epidemic, pandemic) disease containment practices must be strictly adhered to.

Patient identification, isolation, treatment, proper disposal of medical waste, and human remains of deceased handled with some form of religious practice and customs which may not be safe or practical.

Current focus has been on the Ebola pandemic affecting West Africa nations, World Health Organization (WHO), Doctors without Borders, and other organizations assistance in response to these outbreak in each regional nation involved.

The following information is not a comprehensive plan of action, but only one portion of an entire plan for addressing medical disease containment that must be considered by emergency planners.  A constant review, table-top exercises, and other procedures to ensure plans are effective and up to date.

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Health Ministers agree on priority actions to end Ebola outbreak in West Africa

Courtesy of BEMA

Accra, 03 July 2014 – The Emergency Ministerial meeting on Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has ended today with Health Ministers agreeing on a range of priority actions to end the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The scale of the ongoing outbreak is unprecedented with reports of over 750 cases and 445 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since March 2014.

In a Communiqué issued at the end of the two-day meeting, the Ministers agreed that the current situation poses a serious threat to all countries in the region and beyond and called for immediate action. They expressed concern on the adverse social and economic impact of the outbreak and stressed the need for coordinated actions by all stakeholders, national leadership, enhanced cross-border collaboration and community participation in the response.

Speaking at the closing session, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis Sambo commended the Ministers and said: “We have adopted an inter-country strategy to tackle this outbreak. It’s time for concrete action to put an end to the suffering and deaths caused by Ebola virus disease and prevent its further spread”.

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