The World Health Organization in conjunction with its partners and the Government of Senegal has begun an awareness campaign via text message to ensure that the nation remains Ebola free. Here is an update on the day’s news:
- The Liberian Observer reports that the Senator of Bong County, Jewel Howard Taylor, has proposed the extension of Liberia’s state of emergency which was declared on the 6th of August 2014 by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in response to the Ebola outbreak. The current state of emergency is scheduled to expire on the 12th of November 2014. Critics have claimed that calls for extensions are merely an attempt to further delay the upcoming Senatorial Elections which have been proposed to take place on the 16th of December 2014.
- Guinéenews reports that a new treatment center is under construction in Coyah which is located 55km from the capital. The center is being built with the help of the United Nations and its affiliates.
- Media and Officials in West Africa have since the beginning of the outbreak warned about con-artists claiming to be scientists or healers attempting to sell false Ebola treatments and cures. The latest substance being shopped around is a product called ‘Miracle Mineral Supplement’ also known as ‘Master Mineral Supplement’ or ‘MMS’. The solution contains 28% Sodium Chlorite which is the same ingredient used in bleach but at a much higher concentration. The substance has been presented as beneficial for a variety of other ailments and diseases including HIV. Many health organizations have warned against the substance which can cause nausea, diarrhea and vomiting among more serious side-effects like renal failure and have also stated that MMS as a product serves no medical purpose. Chlorine dioxide, which is generated from Sodium Chlorite is used for the purification of water but at much lower concentrations. Some have also suggested that an ALS drug under development was merely a Sodium Chlorite formulation but trials have not proven this to be true. In most countries it is illegal to market, provide or encourage the use of any unapproved substance as a medicine which includes MMS.
Scientists at Washington University have concluded by a study of mice that genetics could play a role in how you respond to the Ebola Virus Disease. Scientists noticed that mice which survived showed higher genetic activity at the alleles responsible for the manufacture of antibodies. Here is a round-up of the day’s news:
- Kaci Hickox, the nurse who fought against isolation, has been temporarily ordered by the state of Maine to maintain a 3-feet distance from people when she goes out. She has also been ordered to submit herself to active monitoring and has to coordinate all travel with health authorities, ABC News reported. Furthermore she may not be present in public places. Kaci said earlier this week that she would go to court if the state of Maine tried enforcing isolation in the same way as the state of New Jersey.
- Russia and Guinea have signed memoranda to establish a legal framework to benefit the Guinean health system to better fight Ebola but also improve care in the future according to Guinéenews. Guinea’s Health Minister also announced further expansion of treatment facilities and protocols as well as the buying of new equipment and widespread distribution of essentials to help fight the virus.
- The Liberian Observer reports that Japan has contributed 7 ambulances worth more than US $ 400 000 to the Government of Liberia to aid the fight against the virus. International and local stakeholders have made progress as noted by the World Health Organization Assistant Director-General, Bruce Aylward, who earlier this week said that the outbreak in Liberia appears to be slowing.
- In Sierra Leone the virus continues to spread as two villages near Freetown-Lungi International Airport have had twenty bodies buried over two days. One of the villages saw a major rise in cases after burial clearance was allegedly given to an untrained person based on misinformation. All Ebola victims must be buried by Officials. How this misinformation occurred is unclear but a dispute has arisen regarding the details. Officials in the nation also called for a change in attitude to help fight the virus. Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister has also said that no citizen from his country has been diagnosed outside its borders.
- A US couple has pranked their son by taking his temperature and declaring that he has Ebola. In two days the video on Youtube has garnered more than 2 million views with mixed reaction to its appropriateness.
On seemingly opposite ends of the globe two new cases of Ebola have been confirmed by respective health authorities. The Ministry of Health in Mali has confirmed the infection of a 2 year old who traveled from Guinea while New York has confirmed that a Doctor who recently returned from Guinea has tested positive for the virus.
Mali is the sixth country in West Africa to be affected by the largest recorded outbreak. It is understood that the 2 year old girl was placed in isolation along with all direct contacts on the the 23rd of October 2014. The Ministry of Health released a statement confirming the importation after a suspected case was identified at Fousseyni Daou Kayes Hospital. It is strongly suspected that at least one of the girls parents has died from Ebola recently.
In the USA a suspected case appeared at Bellevue Hospital when Dr Craig Spencer was admitted with symptoms. Significant concern has been raised about the time line for this infection after it emerged that Dr Craig Spencer may have been symptomatic while using the subway and taxi cabs. Research suggests that Ebola can survive without a host for several days. CDC officials have been dispatched to assist with the case and contact tracing has begun.
The World Health Organization and the United Nations raised concerns about the risk of case importation for Mali and Côte d’ Voire in recent weeks after reports began to emerge that the outbreak was continuing to spread in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The confirmation of a case in Mali reaffirms the statements from officials and experts in recent weeks. The outbreak must be contained in the West Africa “Hot Zone”.
Widespread under-reporting and a lack of reliable data continues to place strain on efforts to provide detailed information regarding the 2014 Ebola outbreak. It has claimed at least 4493 lives according to the latest official report from the World Health Organization. Senegal and Nigeria are nearing the 42 day mark after which the outbreaks in those regions will be declared over if no new infections are reported. It is noteworthy that information released earlier this week indicated that the 21 day incubation upper limit was relevant to 95% of cases with 5% of cases occurring beyond the 21 day limit.
Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia continue to deteriorate with very little slowdown in sight. Case counts in most districts continue to increase despite the claims of under-reporting. Liberia which has been accused of attempting to hide Ebola cases after a recent ban on foreign media has reported 4249 cases in total. The total case count for the West African cluster has increased to 8973. The death tolls continue to exceed the number of confirmed cases particularly in Sierra Leone which, according to the report, is showing rampant spread of the virus.
The case count in Spain has remained constant with a single case reported while the official count for the USA has grown to 2. The US count excludes the third case which was announced earlier today. The United Nations has urged high risk countries to bolster their readiness in expectation of further global spread. The UN also warned that if the outbreak cannot be contained by the end of November the situation could be “unprecedented”.
The unrelated outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo remains stable with all contacts clear of symptoms after their 21 day follow-up suggesting that the outbreak in the Congo has been successfully contained.
WHO Situation Report – 15 October 2014
The World Health Organization has published it’s Roadmap Update which now includes data from Spain. The official case count now totals 8470 including the initial outbreaks in Nigeria, Senegal, Spain, the United States of America as well as the unrelated outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 4076 deaths have been reported across all regions. WHO noted serious concerns about the quality of data provided in recent reports from the so called “hot zone” countries earlier this week. Based on current data the growth of the outbreak is no longer exponential if the data is accurate.
The World Health Organization has been particularly active this week raising several concerns about the global impact of Ebola. East Asia is considered to be at risk according to WHO. The large trade and transport hubs in the region are of particular concern. The first transmission of Ebola in Spain raised additional alarm bells and resulted in announcements that further cases in Europe would be inevitable.
Liberia remains of particular concern. A report from the Health Ministry today showed no new cases raising concerns around the ability of the country to collect data on the outbreak. Journalists and Media have been banned from being near Ebola treatment centers or making contact with Ebola patients without explicit permission from the Health Ministry. Speculation about the situation in Liberia has been fierce and generally concerning.
Guinea has seen a significant increase in the number of patients particularly in Conakry where Donka Ebola management center has been severely stretched by a large intake of patients. The center is now well over its 60 bed capacity after admitting at least 22 patients on the 6th of October.
WHO Road-map 10/10/2014