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Race to contain 400 Ebola carriers

Posted by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 12:12 AM
  • 30 Replies

heath officials are racing to find almost 400 people who could be spreading one of the world's deadliest contagious diseases as the number of confirmed cases across three countries in West Africa rose to 127 yesterday.

At least 83 people have died from Ebola in the latest outbreak. There is no known cure for the disease, which is spread through bodily fluids, causes massive internal bleeding and has a death rate of up to 90 per cent.

Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesman for the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Guinea, which has borne the brunt of the outbreak, said that they were trying to trace at least 375 people thought to have had close contact with patients.

"Most of them are in family clusters," Mr Jasarevic said in the capital, Conakry, where four people have died out of 11 confirmed cases.

He said the Government had established a telephone hotline for members of the public to report anyone they thought was showing symptoms, which include sudden fever and muscle pain followed by vomiting and diarrhoea.

At least 14 health workers are among the dead. They are thought to have contracted the disease, which can penetrate through skin, before they realised what they had been in contact with.

Bart Janssens, director of operations at Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the international aid agency, said that they had flown 52 international staff and more than 40 tonnes of equipment to Guinea, so that they could establish isolation wards in an attempt to halt the spread of the disease.

Mariano Lugli, a nurse with MSF who had been treating patients, said that staff had to wear head-to-toe biohazard suits, despite the heat, to protect themselves from infection. In the worst cases, symptoms included "bleeding from the mouth, the anus and the ears, all the parts of the body where it is possible to bleed out of," Mr Lugli said.

Although their first priority was to contain the disease and support the sick patients, he said that they also had two psychologists on hand to alleviate the panic it can cause. "People are terrified," Mr Lugli said. "The job of the psychologists is to explain to them, and their families and the communities, what is happening.

The virus was discovered in central Africa in 1976. It is known to exist in fruit bats, and normally affects people living in or near tropical rainforests.

Although the most recent outbreak started in a cluster of remote villages in the southeast of Guinea, MSF said that the speed with which it had travelled was unprecedented. Liberia has confirmed two cases, with five others under observation, and Sierra Leone is monitoring 15 people who attended a funeral in an area affected by the outbreak in neighbouring Guinea.

President Conde of Guinea has appealed for calm and urged people to take simple precautions, such as not eating bats or handling wild animals. Of the five known strains of Ebola, the Zaire strain plaguing West Africa is the most virulent.

The WHO said that it was not recommending restrictions on travel to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone, but Senegal has closed border crossings to Guinea.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/race-to-contain-400-ebola-carriers/story-fnb64oi6-1226873524486#


The deadly condition kills almost everyone it comes into contact with, as Africa correspondent Martin Cuddihy reports.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: It's one of the world's most deadly viruses.

Ebola causes vomiting, diarrhoea and severe internal and external bleeding. 

As many as 90 per cent of the people who get the virus die. Because of that fatality rate, panic is following diagnosis in West Africa.

In the Guinean capital, one man confessed his fears as his wife was admitted to hospital.

GUINEAN MAN: I'm panicked; I'm very confused. Two days now, we are still on our legs. People are crying down at the hospital; they need help. They need the international help. Everybody is frightened, everybody. No-one, even the children.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The disease has moved beyond the porous borders of Guinea to Sierra Leone, where 11 deaths have been confirmed. 

And now it is spreading further. Ebola has reached Liberia. 

The World Health Organization says there are now two confirmed cases in the Foya District. 

Mariano Lugli from Medicines Sans Frontiers says it will be difficult to contain the spread. 

MARIANO LUGLI (translation): People move a lot, so the people who are infected are in contact with other people, and our biggest problem at the moment is isolating the cases so we can put them all together in a specialist treatment unit, so they are isolated and can't infect other patients.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: Senegal has closed its border with Guinea to isolate itself from the threat. 

More than 30 tonnes of medical supplies and equipment have been flown in to West Africa in the hope of containing the outbreak.

Doctors don't know, but they suspect the disease is passed on to humans from bats. 

The government in Guinea has reacted, banning the sale and consumption of bats - a local delicacy. 

MSF says there is no known cure or vaccination for ebola.

MARIANO LUGLI (translation): Every day we see pregnant women who lose their babies very early in their pregnancies. We see the families torn about, we see families who've been wiped out, because this disease is very contagious.

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2014/s3975760.htm

I see they put the UK on alert but I have yet to see an alert for the US.

by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 12:12 AM
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Replies (1-10):
wymama610
by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 1:56 AM
3 moms liked this
This is some scary stuff. With the ease and availability of air travel, it could easily become a global event. Ebola is a horrible, sick bitch. That and Marburg and two of the scariest things on earth. Hope they can get it contained. In the past it has died out rather quickly because the victims are killed so rapidly, the virus can't spread to another live host. If it ever mutates and becomes like AIDS, it could be a real game changer.
SlingsAndThings
by Bronze Member on Apr. 3, 2014 at 9:56 AM
1 mom liked this

Ebola scares the living shit out of me.

stormcris
by Christy on Apr. 3, 2014 at 10:23 AM

I think this is one of those things that will make the US yell for FEMA camps to exist.

meriana
by Platinum Member on Apr. 3, 2014 at 10:41 AM
1 mom liked this

And yet the WHO is not recommending travel restrictions regarding affected areas.

stormcris
by Christy on Apr. 3, 2014 at 10:43 AM

I found that strange as well.

Quoting meriana:

And yet the WHO is not recommending travel restrictions regarding affected areas.


MeAndTommyLee
by Angie on Apr. 3, 2014 at 10:45 AM
2 moms liked this

No travel restrictions?  Until this lethal illness is contained, there most certainly ought to be.  

greenie63
by Silver Member on Apr. 3, 2014 at 10:47 AM
2 moms liked this

Can we say "Hot Zone?" 

This terrfies me. Ebloa and airplanes could equal a world wide epidemic. 

MeAndTommyLee
by Angie on Apr. 3, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Exactly what came to mind.  

WHO is being lax and irresponsible.  I'm genuinely sorry these poor victims are suffering so tragically, but we need to protect the worlds population by a travel ban.  14 health workers are already dead as well!  

Quoting greenie63:

Can we say "Hot Zone?" 

This terrfies me. Ebloa and airplanes could equal a world wide epidemic. 


stormcris
by Christy on Apr. 3, 2014 at 11:05 AM

And there are Irish and other nations workers down there...

Quoting MeAndTommyLee:

Exactly what came to mind.  

WHO is being lax and irresponsible.  I'm genuinely sorry these poor victims are suffering so tragically, but we need to protect the worlds population by a travel ban.  14 health workers are already dead as well!  

Quoting greenie63:

Can we say "Hot Zone?" 

This terrfies me. Ebloa and airplanes could equal a world wide epidemic. 



MeAndTommyLee
by Angie on Apr. 3, 2014 at 11:13 AM
1 mom liked this

And I am sure they are going to want to go back to Ireland at some point!  It only takes ONE infected person on a plane to spread it.  This worries me a lot.  

Quoting stormcris:

And there are Irish and other nations workers down there...

Quoting MeAndTommyLee:

Exactly what came to mind.  

WHO is being lax and irresponsible.  I'm genuinely sorry these poor victims are suffering so tragically, but we need to protect the worlds population by a travel ban.  14 health workers are already dead as well!  

Quoting greenie63:

Can we say "Hot Zone?" 

This terrfies me. Ebloa and airplanes could equal a world wide epidemic. 



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