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Ebola Update – 11 October 2014

Here is the day’s news regarding the virus:

  • The Spanish Nurse, Maria Theresa Romero Ramos, who contracted Ebola after treating a missionary, has improved after receiving the experimental drug ZMapp. She was diagnosed on the 6th of October 2014 and is currently being treated at Carlos III Hospital in Madrid.
  • The Dallas County Sheriffs deputy who had been ordered into the apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan was living has shared his story with media. Michael Monnig was suspected of having Ebola but later tested negative. He didn’t wear protective gear but said he was just following orders. He also admitted that the clothing he wore that night is still in a bag in his garage.
  • International Health Officials who have been battling the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone have said that they will send care packages to people’s homes as facilities no longer had capacity. Many have said that this is essentially admitting defeat. However it is argued by Officials that this would simply streamline the process, and that it made more sense given the lack of necessary equipment.
  • Morocco’s request to postpone the African Cup of Nations 2015 has been tabled for a meeting on the 2nd of November 2014. The Confederation of African Football said the executive committee will consider the options if it’s deemed necessary. For now though, regardless of the Ebola Outbreak, no dates or matches have been changed.
  • All crew members who worked with the NBC Cameraman diagnosed with Ebola have been ordered by New Jersey Officials into a mandatory isolation. All crew members had been on a 21 day voluntary isolation which was allegedly broken. Health Officials would not confirm who broke the order but the court order in place will likely mean it is not broken again.
  • A 14 year old teenager in Brooklyn who was hospitalized on the 10th of October 2014 after returning from a two-week trip to Sudan has tested negative for Ebola. Sudan is not currently listed as one of the countries affected by the virus.

African Cup of Nations in Morocco could spread Ebola

The African Cup of Nations will be hosted by Morocco and is scheduled to kick off on the 17th of January 2015. However, as the deadly Ebola virus continues to spread in the West African region fears have mounted that the cup could result in a further spread of the virus. Several worst case scenario models predict more than half a million infections by January when the cup is scheduled to take place.

Earlier this year the Ivory Coast attempted to enforce its travel ban by refusing to host a qualifying match with Sierra Leone. The country had a sudden change of heart after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) informed them that refusing to host the qualifier would render them expelled from the 2015 event.

Fears that football fans or participants may spread Ebola are not unfounded as the event lasts for nearly the exact number of days as the upper limit for incubation. With this in mind, it is plausible that a visitor could enter Morocco while healthy and become symptomatic before the event is over. A stadium full of cheering fans would be a very likely place for transmission of the virus.

The Government of Morocco has at this stage not provided any indication that they intend to cancel or postpone the football spectacular but have indicated that a “safety first” approach would be taken implying that if the virus continues to spread they may be forced to postpone or take significant precautions for visitors entering from affected countries.

Moroccan newspapers reported in August that FIFA had assured the country that the infection risks as well as efforts to contain the outbreak would take first priority, with the Football events coming in second. FIFA also indicated that the ultimate decision would need to be made by the Confederation of African Football.

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