Posts Tagged ‘ebola virus’

Report: West African elusive Ebola virus going out of control


Newscast Media FREETOWN—Humanitarian-aid organization Doctors Without Borders
has warned that the deadly Ebola epidemic in West Africa is now out of control with
over 60 outbreak hotspots.

The medical charity NGO, known by its French initials MSF, said on Monday that the
scale of the current Ebola epidemic is unprecedented in terms of geographical
distribution, the number of people infected, and the tally of deaths.

The organization also added that it is stretched to the limit in responding to the
outbreak that is spreading in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“We have reached our limits,” said Bart Janssens, the director of
operations for the organization, adding, “Despite the human resources and
equipment deployed by MSF in the three affected countries, we are no
longer able to send teams to the new outbreak sites.”

New sites in the countries have been added to the disease’s reach, prompting
concerns that the disease is quickly spreading to other areas.

In a statement released on the same day, the World Health Organization said at least
337 people have died from Ebola in 2014. Most of the cases and deaths have been
reported in Guinea, where 267 have succumbed to the virus.

There is currently no known cure for Ebola, whose symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting
and bleeding.

The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces or sweat. It can
also be spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated

Ebola was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976 in an outbreak
that killed 280 people.

It remains one of the world’s most virulent diseases, which kills between 25 to 90
percent of those who fall sick.

Source: Press TV


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 24, 2014 at 9:38 pm

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WHO: Current Ebola outbreak in West Africa most challenging


Newscast Media NEW YORK—The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is one of the
“most challenging” ones ever to strike since the disease emerged four decades ago,
says the World Health Organization (WHO).

“We have not had an Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa before,” Keiji
Fukuda, the WHO assistant director general, said on Tuesday, adding, “This
is one of the most challenging Ebola outbreaks we have ever faced.”

According to the WHO’s latest figures, there have been 157 suspected cases in
Guinea, 101 of them fatal.

“It’s absolutely critical to get out as much accurate information as possible to
communities and the countries affected, to reduce the rumors, so that people have
facts to work with,” Fukuda said.

“Ebola is clearly a severe disease. It’s an infection with a high fatality rate. But it’s
also an infection that can be controlled,” he noted.

The WHO did not announce any travel restrictions for Guinea, however, other
countries in the region are bracing for the epidemic, with Senegal closing its border
with the neighboring country.

“We have everything in place to take measures against Ebola. We have a well-oiled
system, which we are perfecting daily,” Senegalese Health Minister Eva Marie Coll
Seck said after visiting the port and airport in the capital Dakar.

Stephane Hugonnet, a WHO medical officer who returned from Guinea last weekend,
said, “There is a risk that other countries might be affected, therefore we absolutely
need to remain vigilant.”

There is currently no known cure for Ebola, whose symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting
and bleeding.

The virus spreads through direct contact with blood, feces and sweat. It can also be
spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.
Discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976, Ebola remains one of the
world’s most virulent diseases that kills between 25 to 90 percent of those who fall

The French Embassy in Liberia has released a travel advisory warning French citizens
against travel to the affected parts of Guinea or areas on the Liberian- Guinean

Source: Press TV


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - April 9, 2014 at 12:05 am

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Kenya on high alert to prevent spread of Ebola in the nation


Newscast Media NAIROBI—Kenya’s health ministry said on Thursday that it has
instituted several measures to ensure that any Ebola cases that come to the country
are quickly detected and necessary actions are taken to curb further spread in the

Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the ministry has also issued an alert to
all the points of entry with a request to screen all people who have visited Guinea
where the hemorrhagic fever was first detected in the last three weeks.
The statement comes as health officials in Guinea are working to contain an outbreak
of Ebola that has killed at least 60 people and sickened dozens more, according to
the World Health Organization (WHO).

The outbreak is spreading through forests in the West African country’s southeast,
and may have crossed borders into Liberia and Sierra Leone, WHO said.
“These people are required to reveal when they travelled to Guinea, areas in which
visited and how long they stayed there,” Macharia said in a statement issued in

“They are also required to inform the health officials if they have any symptoms that
have been listed. All cases that will be considered as suspected cases will be isolated
and investigated immediate in order to rule out Ebola HF,” he added.

The virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, secretions, other bodily
fluids or organs of infected persons or animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys
and antelopes, and it has an incubation period of two to 21 days.

Sufferers can experience fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headaches and a
sore throat, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, rashes and impaired kidney and liver
function. In the most severe cases, the virus leads to both external and internal


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 27, 2014 at 11:21 pm

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Possible spread of Ebola virus to capital city worries Ugandans

A health worker disinfecting the premises against Ebola Capital FM News

Newscast Media KAMPALA, Uganda—The deadly Ebola virus is creating fears amongst Ugandans, about its possible spread to Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. Currently the virus is confined in the western city of Kibaale, but because there was a delay to confirm the outbreak was Ebola, some carriers of the virus were not quarantined. The UK Guardian paper reported the patients fled the a hospital in western Uganda as soon as they learned the disease that had killed 14 people in the region was Ebola.

Strangely enough, last week while the western media was reporting that there was an Ebola outbreak in Uganda, none of the Ugandan local media mentioned anything about the virus. They were all silent. A Ugandan health official went as far as dismissing the possibility of Ebola as merely a rumor.

Hindustan Times reported that the outbreak actually began in June, yet it wasn’t until Monday July 30, that the Ugandan media covered it. Also according to the New York Times that reported the outbreak on July 28, the Ugandan government said: “A strange disease was first reported in the area several weeks ago,” according to the government’s statement.

Origin of the name Ebola

To give my readers a background of the disease, and the origin of the name Ebola, I will use this map below. The Ebola virus got its name from River Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo, which is the upper tributary of a Y-shaped river as shown below. When the virus first broke out in 1976, it was discovered in carcasses that were found in this river. Because nobody was familiar with the disease, health officials decided to name it after the river in which the virus was originally discovered.

River Ebola had carcasses that harbored the virus we now know today as the Ebola virus.

Superstition that lies behind Ebola

One of the reasons that perhaps health officials initially dismissed the Ebola outbreak as a rumor, and media did not report on it sooner, to allow suspected victims to get quarantined, is due to the deeply-embedded superstition that permeates Africa. On May 23, 1995, the Houston Chronicle reported that in Zaire (now known as Democratic Republic of Congo), people did not believe the virus existed. They thought it was some sort of a curse or black magic responsible for making people ill.

“There is no epidemic. This is a fetish,” said Jean Papa, maneuvering his taxi through Kinshasa.

“They are defiant,” said Dr. Betty Phongo at a Kinshasa medical clinic. “It’s not that they don’t believe in the disease. They do. They are afraid of it. But they don’t want to admit this. They prefer to simplify it because they know they are weaker than it is. They know there is nothing they can do about it, so they prefer to say it doesn’t exist,” she said in this May 1995 article by the Houston Chronicle.

In Kibaale, the place where the outbreak first happened this year, the mentality of the residents is no different. NPR reported that some villagers started abandoning their homes to escape what they thought was an illness caused by bad luck.

Influx of refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo (2000, 2007 and 2012)

In 1999, the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement was signed by countries within the great lakes region that included Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. Other signatories were: Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The purpose of the agreement was to end the bloodshed taking place in DR Congo. Despite signing that agreement, tensions
between Rwanda and Uganda reached a crescendo, and both countries clashed in Kisingani located within DR Congo. In February 2000 UN authorized of over 5,500 troops to contain the situation. This is a U.N. report chronicling the 2000 conflict in DR Congo also admonishes both Uganda a Rwanda for violating the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement.

Around this time, there was a heavy influx of refugees from DR Congo into Uganda trying to escape the war. In 2000, Uganda saw its first outbreak of Ebola, in Gulu, Masindi, and Mbarara districts located in western Uganda—224 patients lost their lives. Then in 2007, the Tutsi-majority army brigades from Rwanda, fought against the Hutu Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda. This was one of the deadliest battles causing 425,000 refugees to flee their homes as reported by the New York Times.

During this period (2007), Uganda saw another outbreak of Ebola in the western district of Bundibugyo, in which 131 people were infected and 42 patients lost their lives according the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

*Click here to view or download Uganda map with Ebola timeline.

Just recently on July 10, the United Nations Refugee Agency reported that over 16,500 Congolese refugees had fled to Uganda in order to escape the war between Congolese troops and the notorious M23 rebel group. President Joseph Kabila has blamed both the Ugandan and Rwandan governments for the current conflict, alleging the two countries are supporting the M23 rebel group. The influx prompted Uganda Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi to say that the current inflow of refugees fleeing fighting in eastern DRC was straining social services in the western part of his country.

On July 30, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni confirmed the outbreak of Ebola in the western region. Given the correlation between Congolese entering Uganda in large numbers on three separate incidents: 2000, 2007 and 2012, one can draw the inference that there is a high likelihood that some entrants from DR Congo, may have a high resistance to Ebola, but as carriers of it, when they come in contact with Ugandans from the same region, a possible outbreak could be triggered.

How to remedy the problem

It serves no purpose to write an extensively-researched article and provide no solution. The logical solution would be to open up health centers in all districts that border DR Congo, and train health workers on how to detect possible victims affected by Ebola. This can be done by tabulating the current symptoms exhibited by patients, and then developing a handbook for every health practitioner in these clinics, or mobile health centers. Following the guidelines within the handbook, those suspected would then be safely quarantined until confirmatory lab tests reveal either the presence or absence of the virus.

Secondly, even after this wave subsides, samples of this particular strain should be researched to find any weaknesses or vulnerable aspects of the virus. How does this virus react in the presence of an alkaline solution like Sodium bicarbonate? (NaHCO3)

Does it thrive in an acidic environment when the body’s pH is low? What effect would a medium-chained fatty acid like unrefined virgin coconut oil have on the outer membrane that protects the Ebola virus? These are examples of questions Ugandan researchers should consider, as they explore the vulnerabilities of the Ebola virus.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - August 2, 2012 at 10:54 pm

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