Ebola

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Ebola Update – 27 October 2014

The two year old toddler, Fanta Kone, who is believed to have contracted Ebola from her late father, has died in Mali. While the country works to trace contacts and isolate those considered most at risk, questions around the ethics of isolation have arisen in other parts of the world. Here is a summary of the day’s stories:

 

  • The NBC cameraman, Asoko Mukpo, who recovered from Ebola has described his battle with the virus to the Associated Press as being “at war” with his body. Meanwhile a nurse who was quarantined after she returned from Sierra Leone criticized the New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, for the mandatory isolation implemented for all volunteers returning from affected countries in the state, as well as the State of New York after Dr. Craig Spencer was diagnosed last week. Kaci Hickox said to Candy Crowley of CNN that she felt like her “basic human rights have been violated.” A civil rights lawyer, Norman Siegel, planned to represent the nurse and said the isolation was against her “constitutional liberty.” However, it was announced earlier today that she will be released. Hickox was kept in a tent at the back of the hospital which lacked a television, reading material, flushable toilet and shower facilities. The Nurse has tested negative for the virus to date.
  • Dr. Craig Spencer, the fourth person diagnosed with the virus in the United States, has moved into the next phase of the disease which includes gastrointestinal symptoms. He has been treated with antiviral drugs since arriving at Bellevue Hospital and has now also received plasma therapy. His fiancée will be sent home but remain under quarantine. At the same hospital a five year old is currently being tested for the virus after arriving home from a family trip to Guinea. The boy’s family is in isolation at their apartment. It is also believed that Bellevue Hospital employees are now being refused service from local stores and restaurants.
  • American soldiers who were sent to Liberia to aid in the fight against Ebola have been isolated in Vicenza, Italy. CNN, CBS and Reuters all report that 11 soldiers have been placed in quarantine, but none have shown symptoms. The pentagon described the isolation as ‘controlled monitoring’ and said that they would not be allowed to return to the United States until the 21-day period was over.
  • Australia’s Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has announced new restrictions on people trying to enter the country on humanitarian grounds from affected nations. He said that applications will temporarily cease to be processed but added that all visa applications that have been processed prior to the change will be honored provided applicants submit themselves to a 21-day isolation before departing their home countries. Today an 18 year old who moved from West Africa to the country tested negative after being admitted for what was suspected to be the virus. The teenager will be retested on Wednesday.
  • The Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Mrs. Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, has said in a press conference over the weekend that revenue collection has been negatively impacted by the Ebola outbreak. Liberia exceeded its target in the first quarter but has seen a decline as the virus has become more widespread in the nation.
  • The impact of the West African Outbreak in Sierra Leone has been widespread. It was reported that over 700 bodies have been buried in the outskirts of Freetown in the Western Rural Area since the beginning of September. Many healthcare workers have also been affected by the virus often leaving behind families who are now without income and opportunity. In response, Sierra Leone has launched the Foundation for Children of Ebola Affected Medical Workers to help aid in bringing a sense of normalcy and new education opportunities to hard hit communities.

Ebola Update – 10 October 2014

Here is a round-up of today’s news:

  • A patient is suspected of having Ebola in Brazil. The 47 year old man who arrived from Guinea on the 19th of September 2014 is currently in the city of Cascavel. His identity is unknown but authorities said he will be moved to a hospital in Rio de Janeiro and placed in isolation for observation and treatment. Health Officials are, as a precaution, trying to find all possible contacts.
  •  The Australian woman who was placed in isolation in a hospital in Cairns yesterday has tested negative for Ebola. Sue Kovack had returned from volunteering for the Red Cross in Sierra Leone. Hospital Officials said she would remain under observation for another 24 hours and follow-up tests would be done.
  • Two million voters who were meant to go to the polls next Tuesday to elect Liberia’s upper chamber have been told that elections have been suspended. Officials cite lack of polling staff, delay in necessary materials due to reduced flights, concerns about voter turnout and general health concerns related to the gathering of people in light of the Ebola Outbreak.
  • Staying in Liberia, one of the driver’s to the country’s Chief Justice has been placed in isolation after his wife passed away from what is suspected to be Ebola. The driver has allegedly not had any contact with the Justice for at least two weeks.
  • The Dallas Deputy who was placed in isolation after displaying symptoms similar to that of Ebola has been discharged from hospital. He had entered the apartment where index patient Thomas Eric Duncan had been living in order to obtain a quarantine order. He tested negative and has shown significant improvement in his health.
  • Temperature gauges and thermal cameras installed at Cairo’s Airport have proven to be defective. The Country’s Health Minister ordered an immediate investigation. Egypt is one of the world’s largest tourist destinations and is currently welcoming home many citizens who are returning from the Hajj pilgrimage.
  • The Economic Impact of Ebola has been largely forgotten in the fight against the epidemic. Countries that are heavily affected have lost significant parts of their economy due to a restless population, decline in transport and cost of treatment. In response to this the International Monetary Fund has loosened restrictions on borrowing. The IMF reiterated calls for humanitarian aid to assists countries most affected.
  • Medicins Sans Frontieres reported that The Donka Ebola treatment center in Conakry, Guinea has been pushed to the limit due to an increase in cases. The treatment facility is believed to have admitted 22 patients in one day. The fears are mounting that if the upward trend continues the center might be forced to turn people away. There was also a significant increase in the amount of children admitted.
  • Spokesperson for the North-West Department of Health in South Africa has said the 72 year old man suspected of having Ebola could not have the disease based on a Health Record. He said the casualty ward which was quarantined yesterday has returned to normal. The man was transferred to Tshepong Hospital Complex which is listed as an Ebola referral Hospital but later passed away from what is claimed to be a bacterial infection. Tests ruled out HIV, Congo Fever and Malaria. Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi later confirmed that there was no Ebola in South Africa but that the country was ready should that become a reality.
  • Zimbabweans were concerned after reports surfaced claiming a hospital was shut down in Harare for a suspected Ebola case. The woman turned out to have Malaria and things have since returned to normal.
  • A satirical piece written by the site NewsNerd claiming a vaccine that only worked on white skin was available has been taken seriously by many commentators. Despite the disclaimer distinctly saying it was false, many still took the opportunity to invoke racially inflammatory sentiments.
  • A man caused a ruckus when he sneezed on a plane and yelled out ‘I have Ebola’. He also claimed that he had recently been to Africa. It later emerged, upon isolation and testing, that he had never been to Africa, and tests confirmed he did not have the virus.

Australia, India & Switzerland Test Patients for Ebola

Fresh on the heels of the frightening CDC report several new suspected cases have appeared outside the current hot-zone in Africa. Most of these cases are likely to result in Malaria diagnosis or other diseases endemic to the African Continent but authorities around the world are taking every precaution possible when dealing with people entering their countries from affected areas.

A Guinean refugee has been quarantined in Switzerland shortly after entering an asylum camp. The refugee claims to have lost a family member to Ebola and was isolated at the first signs of fever. A few days ago a health worker was flown to Geneva after being bitten by a young child suffering from Ebola making this the second suspected contact this week for the European country.

A recent suspected case in Perth has been cleared after a woman who visited the West African region tested negative for the deadly virus. Australia has been vigilant in its efforts to prevent an outbreak by isolating and testing individuals exhibiting possible Ebola symptoms. Earlier this week a man was tested for Ebola and was found to have Malaria after developing flu like symptoms and fever.

Chennai, India saw a suspected case of Ebola as well when a 22 year old man was admitted to hospital after returning from Nigeria. Initial indications seem negative for the disease but the patient, who had been working in a hospital, will be placed under surveillance for 21 days in an effort to ensure his well being and allow for rapid response in the event that he tests positive.

The number of suspected cases will continue to increase in the upcoming weeks as awareness about Ebola increases. The natural and understandable fear around the deadly virus has resulted in cautious behavior by port officials around the world.

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