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Tag Archive: Ebola virus disease


 

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July 27, 2015

by Rob Wallace

The notion of a neoliberal Ebola is so beyond the pale as to send leading lights in ecology and health into apoplectic fits.

Here’s one of bestseller David Quammen’s five tweets denouncing my hypothesis that neoliberalism drove the emergence of Ebola in West Africa. I’m an “addled guy” whose “loopy [blog] post” and “confused nonsense” Quammen hopes “doesn’t mislead credulous people.”

Scientific American’s Steve Mirksy joked that he feared “the supply-side salmonella”. He would walk that back when I pointed out the large literature documenting the ways and means by which the economics of the egg sector is driving salmonella’s evolution.

The facts of the Ebola outbreak similarly turn Quammen’s objection on its head.

Guinea Forest Region in 2014

Guinea Forest Region in 2014 (Photo Credit Daniel Bausch)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The virus appears to have been spilling over for years in West Africa. Epidemiologist Joseph Fair’s group found antibodies to multiple species of Ebola, including the very Zaire strain that set off the outbreak, in patients in Sierra Leone as far back as five years ago. Phylogenetic analyses meanwhile show the Zaire strain Bayesian-dated in West Africa as far back as a decade.

An NIAID team showed the outbreak strain as possessing no molecular anomaly, with nucleotide substitution rates typical of Ebola outbreaks across Africa.

That result begs an explanation for Ebola’s ecotypic shift from intermittent forest killer to a protopandemic infection infecting 27,000 and killing over 11,000 across the region, leaving bodies in the streets of capital cities Monrovia and Conakry.

Explaining the rise of Ebola

The answer, little explored in the scientific literature or the media, appears in the broader context in which Ebola emerged in West Africa.

The truth of the whole, in this case connecting disease dynamics, land use and global economics, routinely suffers at the expense of the principle of expediency. Such contextualization often represents a threat to many of the underlying premises of power.

In the face of such an objection, it was noted that the structural adjustment to which West Africa has been subjected the past decade included the kinds of divestment from public health infrastructure that permitted Ebola to incubate at the population level once it spilled over.

The effects, however, extend even farther back in the causal chain. The shifts in land use in the Guinea Forest Region from where the Ebola epidemic spread were also connected to neoliberal efforts at opening the forest to global circuits of capital.

Daniel Bausch and Lara Schwarz characterize the Forest Region, where the virus emerged, as a mosaic of small and isolated populations of a variety of ethnic groups that hold little political power and receive little social investment. The forest’s economy and ecology are also strained by thousands of refugees from civil wars in neighboring countries.

The Region is subjected to the tandem trajectories of accelerating deterioration in public infrastructure and concerted efforts at private development dispossessing smallholdings and traditional foraging grounds for mining, clear-cut logging, and increasingly intensified agriculture.

The Ebola hot zone as a whole comprises a part of the larger Guinea Savannah Zone the World Bank describes as “one of the largest underused agricultural land reserves in the world.” Africa hosts 60% of the world’s last farmland frontier. And the Bank sees the Savannah best developed by market commercialization, if not solely on the agribusiness model.

As the Land Matrix Observatory documents, such prospects are in the process of being actualized. There, one can see the 90 deals by which U.S.-backed multinationals have procured hundreds of thousands of hectares for export crops, biofuels and mining around the world, including multiple deals in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Observatory’s online database shows similar land deals pursued by other world powers, including the UK, France, and China.

Under the newly democratized Guinean government, the Nevada-based and British-backed Farm Land of Guinea Limited secured 99-year leases for two parcels totaling nearly 9000 hectares outside the villages of N’Dema and Konindou in Dabola Prefecture, where a secondary Ebola epicenter developed, and 98,000 hectares outside the village of Saraya in Kouroussa Prefecture. The Ministry of Agriculture has now tasked Farm Land Inc to survey and map an additional 1.5 million hectares for third-party development.

While these as of yet undeveloped acquisitions are not directly tied to Ebola, they are markers of a complex, policy-driven phase change in agroecology that our group hypothesizes undergirds Ebola’s emergence.

The role of palm oil in West Africa

Our thesis orbits around palm oil, in particular.

Palm is a vegetable oil of highly saturated fats derived from the red mesocarp of the African oil palm tree now grown around the world. The fruit’s kernel also produces its own oil. Refined and fractionated into a variety of byproducts, both oils are used in an array of food, cosmetic and cleaning products, as well as in some biodiesels. With the abandonment of trans fats, palm oil represents a growing market, with global exports totaling nearly 44 million metric tons in the 2014 growing season.

Oil palm plantations, covering more than 17 million hectares worldwide, are tied to deforestation and expropriation of lands from indigenous groups. We see from this Food and Agriculture Organization map that while most of the production can be found in Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, most of the suitable land left for palm oil can be found in the Amazon and the Congo Basin, the two largest rainforests in the world.

Palm oil represents a classic case of Lauderdale’s paradox. As environmental resources are destroyed what’s left becomes more valuable. A decaying resource base, then, is no due cause for agribusiness turning into good global citizens, as industry-funded advocates have argued. On the contrary, agribusiness seeks exclusive access to our now fiscally appreciating, if ecologically declining, landscapes.

Food production didn’t start that way in West Africa, of course.

Natural and semi-wild groves of different oil palm types have long served as a source of red palm oil in the Guinea Forest Region. Forest farmers have been raising palm oil in one or another form for hundreds of years. Fallow periods allowing soils to recover, however, were reduced over the 20th century from 20 years in the 1930s to 10 by the 1970s, and still further by the 2000s, with the added effect of increasing grove density. Concomitantly, semi-wild production has been increasingly replaced with intensive hybrids, and red oil replaced by, or mixed with, industrial and kernel oils.

Other crops are grown too, of course. Regional shade agriculture includes coffee, cocoa and kola. Slash-and-burn rice, maize, hibiscus, and corms of the first year, followed by peanut and cassava of the second and a fallow period, are rotated through the agroforest. Lowland flooding supports rice. In essence, we see a move toward increased intensification without private capital but still classifiable as agroforestry.

But even this kind of farming has since been transformed.

The Guinean Oil Palm and Rubber Company (with the French acronym SOGUIPAH) began in 1987 as a parastatal cooperative in the Forest but since has grown to the point it is better characterized a state company. It is leading efforts that began in 2006 to develop plantations of intensive hybrid palm for commodity export. SOGUIPAH economized palm production for the market by forcibly expropriating farmland, which to this day continues to set off violent protest.

International aid has accelerated industrialization. SOGUIPAH’s new mill, with four times the capacity of one it previously used, was financed by the European Investment Bank.

The mill’s capacity ended the artisanal extraction that as late as 2010 provided local populations full employment. The subsequent increase in seasonal production has at one and the same time led to harvesting above the mill’s capacity and operation below capacity off-season, leading to a conflict between the company and some of its 2000 now partially proletarianized pickers, some of whom insist on processing a portion of their own yield to cover the resulting gaps in cash flow. Pickers who insist on processing their own oil during the rainy season now risk arrest.

The new economic geography has also initiated a classic case of land expropriation and enclosure, turning a tradition of shared forest commons toward expectations whereby informal pickers working fallow land outside their family lineage obtain an owner’s permission before picking palm.

Palm oil and Ebola

What does all this have to do with Ebola?

Fig. 1 Palm Oil and Ebola

Fig. 1 Palm Oil and Ebola

The figure at top left (of Fig. 1) shows an archipelago of oil palm plots in the Guéckédou area, the outbreak’s apparent ground zero. The characteristic landscape is a mosaic of villages surrounded by dense vegetation and interspersed by crop fields of oil palm (in red) and patches of open forest and regenerated young forest.

The general pattern can be discerned at a finer scale as well, above, west of the town of Meliandou, where the index cases appeared.

The landscape embodies a growing interface between humans and frugivore bats, a key Ebola reservoir, including hammer-headed bats, little collared fruit bats and Franquet’s epauletted fruit bats.

Nur Juliani Shafie and colleagues document a variety of disturbance-associated fruit bats attracted to oil palm plantations. Bats migrate to oil palm for food and shelter from the heat while the plantations’ wide trails also permit easy movement between roosting and foraging sites.

Bats aren’t stupid. As the forest disappears they shift their foraging behavior to what food and shelter are left.

Bush meat hunting and butchery are one means by which subsequent spillover may take place. But to move away from the kinds of Western ooga booga epidemiology that wraps outbreaks in such ‘dirty’ cultural cloth, agricultural cultivation may be enough. Fruit bats in Bangladesh transmitted Nipah virus to human hosts by urinating on the date fruit humans cultivated.

Almudena Marí Saéz and colleagues have since proposed the initial Ebola spillover occurred outside Meliandou when children, including the putative index case, caught and played with Angolan free-tailed bats in a local tree. The bats are an insectivore species also previously documented as an Ebola virus carrier.

Whatever the specific reservoir source, shifts in agroeconomic context still appear a primary cause. Previous studies show the free-tailed bats also attracted to expanding cash crop production in West Africa, including of sugar cane, cotton, and macadamia.

Indeed, every Ebola outbreak appears connected to capital-driven shifts in land use, including back to the first outbreak in Nzara, Sudan in 1976, where a British-financed factory spun and wove local cotton. When Sudan’s civil war ended in 1972, the area rapidly repopulated and much of the local rainforest—and bat ecology—was reclaimed for subsistence farming, with cotton returning as the area’s dominant cash crop.

Are New York, London and Hong Kong as much to blame?

Clearly such outbreaks aren’t merely about specific companies.

We have started working with University of Washington’s Luke Bergmann to test whether the world’s circuits of capital as they relate to husbandry and land use are related to disease emergence. Bergmann and Holmberg’s maps, still in preparation, show the percent of land whose harvests are consumed abroad as agricultural goods or in manufactured goods and services for croplands, pastureland and forests.

The maps show landscapes are globalized by circuits of capital. In this way, the source of a disease may be more than merely the country in which it may first appear and indeed may extend as far as the other side of the world. We need to identify who funded the development and deforestation to begin with.

Such an epidemiology begs whether we might more accurately characterize such places as New York, London and Hong Kong, key sources of capital, as disease ‘hot spots’ in their own right. Diseases are relational in their geographies, and not solely absolute, as the ecohealth cowboys chronicled by David Quammen claim.

Similarly, such a new approach ruins the neat dichotomy between emergency responses and structural interventions.

Some disease hounds who acknowledge global structural issues tend to still focus on the immediate logistics of any given outbreak. Emergency responses are needed, of course. But we need to acknowledge that the emergency arose from the structural. Indeed, such emergencies are used as a means by which to avoid talking about the bigger picture driving the emergence of new diseases.

The forest may be its own cure

There’s another false dichotomy to unpack—this one between the forest’s ecosystemic noise and deterministic effect.

The environmental stochasticity at the center of forest ecology isn’t synonymous with random noise.

Here a bit of math can help. A simple stochastic differential model of exponential pathogen population growth can include fractional white noise of an index 0 to 1 defined by a covariance relationship across time and space. An Ito expansion produces a classic result in population growth:

When below a threshold, the noise exponent is small enough to permit a pathogen population to explode in size. When above the threshold, the noise is large enough to control an outbreak, frustrating efforts on the part of the pathogen to string together a bunch of susceptibles to infect.

Never mind the technical details. The important point is that disease trajectories, even in the deepest forest, aren’t divorced from their anthropogenic context. That context can impact upon the forest’s environmental noise and its effects on disease.

How exactly in Ebola’s case?

It’s been long known that if you can lower an outbreak below an infection Allee threshold—say by a vaccine or sanitary practices—an outbreak, not finding enough susceptibles, can burn out on its own. But commoditizing the forest may have lowered the region’s ecosystemic threshold to such a point where no emergency intervention can drive the Ebola outbreak low enough to burn out on its own. The virus will continue to circulate, with the potential to explode again.

In short, neoliberalism’s structural shifts aren’t just a background on which the emergency of Ebola takes place. The shifts are the emergency as much as the virus itself.

In contrast to Nassim Taleb’s Black Swan—history as shit happens—we have here an example of stochasticity’s impact arising out of deterministic agroeconomic policy—a phenomenon I’ve taken to calling the Red Swan.

Here, sudden switches in land use may explain Ebola’s emergence. Deforestation and intensive agriculture strip out traditional agroforestry’s stochastic friction that until this point had kept the virus from stringing together enough transmission.

Under certain conditions, the forest may act as its own epidemiological protection. We risk the next deadly pandemic when we destroy that capacity.

Rob Wallace is an evolutionary biologist and public health phylogeographer currently visiting the Institute of Global Studies at the University of Minnesota. He also blogs at Farming Pathogens.

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(NaturalNews) Remember the Ebola outbreak of 2014 when nurses infected with Ebola were proclaimed “cured” through the intervention of pharmaceutical medicine? Like everything else the MSM broadcast about Ebola, we now know it was all a sinister fabrication.

Texas nurse Nina Pham was widely celebrated as a hero by the mainstream media for her role in treating an infected Ebola patient that started an outbreak in a Dallas hospital. What the media didn’t tell you is that Nina Pham was nearly killed by the Ebola “treatment” medicines administered by the hospital. “Nina Pham, the first known case of an individual contracting Ebola within the U.S., is now suing the parent corporation of her former employer, which she says violated her personal privacy and left her chronically ill by exploiting and neglecting her during the outbreak,” Natural News reported earlier this year.

“The 26-year-old nurse says she now suffers from constant nightmares, body aches and insomnia due to the experimental medications that were forced upon her while in isolation.”

Pharmaceutical interventions, in other words, caused serious organ damage to nurse Pham, and that damage is permanent. Naturally, the CDC-controlled media exploited Pham for P.R. purposes, but once the news had passed, they left her permanently damaged and abandoned by the system.

A second nurse is also in serious health trouble due to toxic Ebola treatments

Now reported in The Independent (UK): “A British nurse who was apparently cured of Ebola earlier this year is now in a critical condition, doctors have said, with experts expressing astonishment at the deterioration of her condition.”

Pauline Cafferkey was admitted to the specialist treatment isolation unit at Royal Free Hospital in London on 9 October. She had been treated for Ebola at the same hospital earlier this year, and was discharged in good health in January.

None of us here at Natural News are surprised, of course. We’ve long known that everything the medical establishment says about Ebola is a deliberate lie, and that includes pharmaceutical Ebola “treatment” promises.

“The exact nature of Ms Cafferkey’s illness is not known, but experts have expressed shock at the severity of her condition,” reports The Independent.

Here’s what’s really going on: In exactly the same way that AIDS drugs destroy the human immune system and cause symptoms of AIDS, Ebola drugs also destroy the patient’s body and cause critical organ failure.

This fundamental truth about the toxicity of Big Pharma’s deadly drugs will never be admitted in the pharma-controlled press.

Same system that pushes toxic pharmaceutical treatments viciously attacks colloidal silver

As you ponder all this, keep in mind that all holistic treatments for Ebola were viciously and aggressively attacked by governments and the media during the Ebola outbreak. Those who offered colloidal silver treatments or products were threatened by U.S. regulators and mocked by the media… even though colloidal silver is a non-toxic treatment that cannot cause the kind of organ failure we’re witnessing from pharmaceutical interventions.

Non-profits such as Dr. Rima Laibow’s Natural Solutions Foundation were even viciously threatened by the IRS after Dr. Laibow began talking about colloidal silver as a non-toxic treatment option. (No doubt the CDC pressured the IRS to target the NSF in the same way the IRS targets liberty-oriented non-profits.)

“The IRS sent us a warning letter saying that by sharing US Department of Defense Threat Reduction Agency declassified research on the impact of our particular Nano Silver 10 PPM on the ability of the Ebola virus to cause disease we had miraculously turned the substance into a drug,” Dr. Laibow told Natural News. “We responded to them in detail (26 pages, if I recall properly) and they sent back another letter backing off a bit but demanding changes in our site.”

Meanwhile, companies that sold high-grade medicinal essential oils such as doTerra were threatened by government regulators with being put out of business if they didn’t police their independent distributors who were sharing the true news that many essential oils can kill Ebola.

The medical system, government and media essentially invoked an all-out WAR on natural medicine while claiming their own pharmaceuticals were the only safe treatments for Ebola. Now we see just what a farce those claims really were. Much like chemotherapy, the “treatment” for Ebola may be just as deadly as Ebola itself.

Meanwhile, all the truly SAFE treatments like colloidal silver have been intentionally disparaged, marginalized and pushed to the fringes of alternative medicine. It’s no coincidence that colloidal silver can’t be patented and is universally available for mere pennies, thereby threatening the more important aspect of Big Pharma’s disease pandemic schemes: PROFITS!

Here at Natural News, our prayers go out to Pauline Cafferkey with the hope that she won’t end up as yet another needless victim of Big Pharma’s toxic treatments and the mainstream media’s outrageous lies that misled medical staff into falsely believing that pharmaceutical treatments for Ebola are safe.

Sources for this article include:
http://www.naturalnews.com/048845_Ebola_nurs…
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-ne…
http://www.naturalnews.com/051273_Donald_Tru…

 

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NBC News

Ebola Virus Outbreak
Oct 13 2014, 4:51 pm ET

Who is Nina Pham? Meet the Nurse Who Contracted Ebola

This undated photo made available by the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, shows the Ebola virus viewed through an electron microscope. Antwerp Institute of Tropical Me / AP

Nina Pham is the nurse who contracted the Ebola virus and is being treated in Dallas, a close family friend has confirmed to NBC News Monday.

Pham is the first patient to contract the disease while on U.S. soil, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said the transmission resulted from an unknown “breach of protocol” in treating Thomas Eric Duncan when he returned to Texas Presbyterian a second time. On Monday CDC director Tom Frieden clarified that he in no way meant to place blame on the stricken nurse.

“This is a very brave person who put herself at risk to do something good for society, and is now ill,” he said.

Dallas Nurse with Ebola is Clinically-Stable, says CDC4:38

Pham, 26, is a 2010 graduate of the Bachelors of Science in Nursing program at Texas Christian University, according to Lisa Albert, a spokesperson for the school. The four-year program prepares nurses to serve as “liaisons among doctors, patients and other members of the health care team,” according to the school website.

There is not a stand-alone course on infections disease work, but infection prevention strategies are “woven throughout all clinical coursework,” according to Albert. Precautionary methods are introduced at the start of clinical course work, reviewed through the curriculum, and students sign an end-of-semester document attesting to this work.

Pham was certified by the Texas Board of Nursing in 2010, according to state records, but she didn’t receive her certificate in Critical Care Nursing until Aug. 1 — less than two months before Duncan arrived at Texas Health Presbyterian critically ill with Ebola. Duncan died last week.

Read More Here

 

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Ebola nurse Nina Pham files lawsuit against Texas Health Resources

Nurse Nina Pham, who contracted Ebola while caring for a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, filed a lawsuit Monday in Dallas County against the hospital’s parent company, Texas Health Resources.

The lawsuit alleges that while she became the American face of the fight against the disease, the hospital’s lack of training and proper equipment and violations of her privacy made her “a symbol of corporate neglect — a casualty of a hospital system’s failure to prepare for a known and impending medical crisis.”

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Pham released a brief statement: “I was hoping that THR would be more open and honest about everything that happened at the hospital, and the things they didn’t do that led to me getting infected with Ebola. But that didn’t happen and I felt I was left with no choice but to turn to the courts for help. The fact is, I’m facing a number of issues with regard to my health and my career and the lawsuit provides a way to address them. But more importantly, it will help uncover the truth of what happened, and educate all health care providers and administrators about ways to be better prepared for the next public health emergency.  I particularly want to express my continued sympathy to the family of Mr. Duncan, as it was my privilege to care for him.  I also want to acknowledge my fellow nurses, and the many friends, family and strangers for their ongoing concern and support.”

Pham told The Dallas Morning News that Texas Health Resources was negligent because it failed to develop policies and train its staff for treating Ebola patients. She says Texas Health Resources did not have proper protective gear for those who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person in the United State diagnosed with the disease. He died Oct. 8.

“I wanted to believe that they would have my back and take care of me, but they just haven’t risen to the occasion,” Pham said in the interview.

 

Read More Here

 

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By Jennifer Emily | Staff Writer

Nina Pham claims the extent of her Ebola training was a printout of guidelines her supervisor found on the web. “The only thing I knew about Ebola, I learned in nursing school” six years earlier, Pham said.

Nina Pham claims the extent of her Ebola training was a printout of guidelines her supervisor found on the web. “The only thing I knew about Ebola, I learned in nursing school” six years earlier, Pham said.

Patients first

“I was proud of us. We fought in the trenches together, the frontline health care workers. That’s what nursing is about: putting the patient first. We did what we had to do,” Pham said.

She remembers spending hours alone with Duncan cleaning up his bodily fluids, monitoring his vital signs and reassuring him that everything would be OK. Pham said Duncan was in a great deal of pain and frightened but always polite. He told her “he felt very isolated.” She held his hand and told him she would pray for him.

But when Duncan tested positive for Ebola, it sent panic and fear throughout Presbyterian — and the nation. Pham, too, was frightened.

“I was the last person besides Mr. Duncan to find out he was positive,” she said. “You’d think the primary nurse would be the first to know. … I broke down and cried, not because I thought I had it but just because it was a big ‘whoa, this is really happening’ moment.”

Duncan, who contracted the disease in his native Liberia, died Oct. 8. A few days later, Pham tested positive for the disease. She was initially treated at Presbyterian and then the National Institutes of Health in Maryland with a series of experimental drugs and plasma from Dr. Kent Brantly, an Ebola survivor.

She says that Texas Health Resources violated her privacy while she was a patient at Presbyterian by ignoring her request that “no information” be released about her. She said a doctor recorded her on video in her hospital room and released it to the public without her permission.

Charla Aldous, Pham’s attorney, put it more simply: Texas Health Resources “used Nina as a PR pawn.”

Pham said she considered not going back to care for Duncan after his diagnosis. Her colleagues said they wouldn’t blame her for not returning to her job where normal 12-hour shifts had stretched to 14 or 15. Even her mother said she didn’t care if Pham lost her job.

Pham said that while she did not volunteer to care for Duncan, she felt that she couldn’t say no.

“I had a duty to take care of him,” she said. “It’s not in my nature to refuse.”

 

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© Baz Ratner
Ebola cases in Sierra Leone could have been cut by 50 percent had the UK had set up beds in the stricken nation’s treatment centers just one month earlier, a new report claims.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) suggest had British aid efforts been provided sooner, some 7,500 people could have been prevented from contracting the virus.

During that time frame the UK installed more than 1,500 treatment beds in community centers, and a further 1,200 in specialist Ebola centers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says 13,945 people fell ill between September 2014 and February 2015.

LSHTM lecturer in infectious diseases Dr Adam Kucharski and his colleagues say the UK’s involvement saved 40,000 lives. However more deaths could have been prevented had they intervened sooner.

View image on Twitter

Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey admitted to hospital ‘in a very serious condition’ http://on.rt.com/6tg4 

Daily International News

WHO: Ebola Death Toll Tops 120

Health workers walk in an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at Donka Hospital in Conakry, April 14, 2014.

Health workers walk in an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at Donka Hospital in Conakry, April 14, 2014.

VOA News

WHO says health ministries in Guinea, Liberia and other affected countries have reported about 200 confirmed or suspected cases of the virus.

The vast majority of victims are in Guinea, where officials have reported 168 cases, including 108 deaths. Liberia reports 13 deaths from the disease.

News reports Tuesday said Gambian authorities have ordered airlines not to pick up passengers from affected countries.

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The New Zealand Herald

The Gambia bans flights from ebola-hit countries

Health workers wearing protective suits walk in an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at Donka Hospital in Conakry, Guinea. Photo / AFP

Health workers wearing protective suits walk in an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at Donka Hospital in Conakry, Guinea. Photo / AFP

The Gambia has banned flights from Ebola-hit west African countries from landing in its territory, airport officials said.

Staff at Banjul International Airport said on condition of anonymity that President Yahya Jammeh had ordered airlines to cancel all flights from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in a bid to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

“This decision by the Gambian authorities has left prospective passengers travelling to Banjul … stranded in these west African countries,” said an airport official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Brussels Airlines, which transits in Freetown from Europe, is only allowed to drop passengers there, but not pick anyone up.”

The outbreak in Guinea is one of the deadliest in history, with 168 cases “clinically compatible” with Ebola virus disease reported, including 108 deaths, since the start of the year, according to the World Health Organisation.

The outbreak began in the impoverished country’s southern forests, but has spread to Conakry, a sprawling port city on the Atlantic coast and home to two million people

Neighbouring Liberia has reported 20 probable or suspected cases, six lab-confirmed cases and 13 deaths.

Mali also had suspected cases but was given the all-clear on Tuesday after samples taken from patients tested negative for Ebola in laboratories, the health ministry told reporters in Bamako.

There was no official confirmation of the ban from the Gambia but AFP has seen a letter dated April 10 from the transport ministry notifying airlines of the measures while Sierra Leone’s government said it was in talks with Banjul over the issue.

It was not immediately clear if sanctions were being threatened against airlines or airport authorities for ignoring the ban.

“I went to the Gambia Bird (airlines) office in the Greater Banjul area to purchase an air ticket for my elder brother currently in Monrovia but was informed by the travel agent that they are not selling tickets to passengers travelling from Monrovia and Freetown,” Banjul resident Nyima Sanneh told AFP.

 

Read More Here

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Earth Watch Report  –  Biological Hazards

Ebola virus

CDC

 

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Biological Hazard Canada Province of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Damage level Details

 

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RSOE EDIS

Biological Hazard in Canada on Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 at 04:31 (04:31 AM) UTC.

Description
Saskatchewan health officials say a man who recently travelled to western Africa is seriously ill in hospital and one of the possible diagnoses they are considering is Ebola hemorrhagic fever. Dr. Denise Werker, deputy chief medical health officer, said there is fear an outbreak of the Ebola virus has spread to Liberia, where the man was travelling. “All we know at this point is that we have a person who is critically ill who travelled from a country where these diseases occur,” she said. She says hemorrhagic fevers are spread through contact with a sick person’s bodily fluids – one of the final symptoms is bleeding from the mouth and eyes. “Ebola hemorrhagic fever is not a highly infectious disease. People need to be in close contact with blood and bodily fluids and so that would be close household contacts of people who are taking care of these individuals,” she said. “There is no risk to the general public at all about this.” African health officials announced Monday that an outbreak of Ebola is believed to have killed at least 59 people in Guinea and may already have spread to neighbouring Liberia. Health workers in Guinea are trying to contain the spread of the disease. In Liberia, health officials said they are investigating five deaths after several people crossed the border from Guinea in search of medical treatment. Werker says the man showed no signs of illness on his return journey.
Biohazard name: Ebola (Viral Fever) – Susp.
Biohazard level: 4/4 Hazardous
Biohazard desc.: Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic or unidentified diseases. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a Level Four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, autonomous detection system, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a Biosafety Level 4 (P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.
Symptoms:
Status: suspected

 

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RSOE EDIS

Biological Hazard in Canada on Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 at 04:31 (04:31 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 at 04:45 UTC
Description
Saskatchewan health officials say a man who recently travelled to Liberia in Western Africa is “seriously ill” in a Saskatoon hospital with a high fever and other symptoms. Officials have not yet identified the nature of the illness, but Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Denise Werker, said at a news conference on Monday that the man is being examined for a suspected case of viral hemorrhagic fever. “Viral hemorrhagic fever is a generic name for a number of rather exotic diseases that are found in Africa,” said Werker. These diseases include Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and yellow fever. Liberia is currently dealing with an outbreak of Ebola after the virus killed more than 59 people in neighbouring Guinea. “All we know at this point is that we have a person who is critically ill who travelled from a country where these diseases occur,” Werkersaid. Tests have already been sent to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, said Werker. Results are expected Tuesday. “Measures have been taken to isolate the patient to ensure the illness is not transmitted,” Saskatchewan health officials said in a statement. “Public health officials believe the risk to the public is low, and are investigating.” The Canadian patient showed no signs of the illness on his return to Saskatchewan, said Werker. There is no vaccine for the Ebola virus, which leads to severe hemorrhagic fever. Werker said the virus is not as contagious as some might believe, and that it is transferrable through saliva and other bodily fluids. One of the final symptoms is bleeding from the eyes and mouth. “People need to be in close contact with blood and bodily fluids so that would be close household contacts of people who are taking care of these individuals,” said Werker. “There is no risk to the general public at all about this.”————–

A man is in hospital in Canada with symptoms of a haemorrhagic fever resembling the Ebola virus, a health official has said. The man had recently returned from Liberia in the west African region, currently suffering a deadly outbreak of an unidentified haemorrhagic fever. He is in isolation in critical condition in Saskatoon, the largest city in Saskatchewan province. A provincial medical official said there was no risk to the public. Dr Denise Werker, the province’s deputy chief medical officer, declined to say how long the man had been in Africa but said he only fell ill after returning to Canada. She said that was in line with the profile of common deadly haemorrhagic fever viruses Lassa fever and Ebola, which have an incubation period of up to 21 days. She said the people most at risk were healthcare workers who do not protect themselves from contact with the patient’s bodily secretions. “There is no risk to the general public,” she said. “We recognise that there is going to be a fair amount of concern and that is why we wanted to go public with this as soon as possible.” A virus resembling Ebola has struck in Guinea, with cases also reported in Liberia. As many as 61 people have died of the disease in the remote forests of southern Guinea. But health officials in the Guinean capital, Conakry, have said the virus is not Ebola. In Saskatchewan, Dr Werker said the man’s diagnosis had not yet been confirmed and that a laboratory in Winnipeg was testing a biological specimen from the man.

 

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RSOE EDIS

Biological Hazard in Canada on Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 at 04:31 (04:31 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 at 16:53 UTC
Description
A suspected case of the deadly Ebola virus in Saskatchewan has tested negative. Tests also came back negative for Lassa, Marburg and Crimean Congo. The World Health Organization (WHO) tweeted the results Tuesday from its verified Twitter account. Canada’s deputy chief public health officer said in a release that tests at the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory confirmed the ill man does not have Ebola or any other hemorrhagic viruses. Dr. Gregory Taylor’s statement said ruling out those four hemorrhagic viruses “significantly reduces the risk to the people who have been in close contact with the patient while the patient has exhibited symptoms.” Taylor added there has never been a confirmed case of a hemorrhagic virus in Canada, and that testing continues to determine the man’s illness. “If a case were ever confirmed in Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada would alert Canadians immediately and put measures in place to protect the public,” the PHAC said in a statement. Hartl suggested the case “is apparently a severe case of malaria.” A top Saskatchewan public health official announced Monday that the man in question, who was recently in the West African country of Liberia, was critically ill and isolated in a Saskatoon hospital with what was believed to be viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF). Included in the general class of VHFs are Ebola fever, Lassa fever, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, dengue fever, and Marburg hemorrhagic fever. Health care workers sent the patient’s specimens to the national microbiology laboratory in Winnipeg for a diagnosis, said deputy chief medical health officer Dr. Denise Werker. Rampant spread of hemorrhagic fevers in Africa, including a current outbreak in Guinea of Ebola, can be linked back to poor infection control in hospitals, Werker said.

 

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RSOE EDIS

Biological Hazard in Canada on Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 at 04:31 (04:31 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Thursday, 27 March, 2014 at 04:12 UTC
Description
Doctors say the man isolated in a Saskatoon hospital after returning home from Africa has an undiagnosed fever of unknown origin. Rod Ogilvie remains in critical condition and is intubated with failing organs according to Denise Werker, Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer. Late Monday night, lab tests resulted negative for the four most serious pathogens of viral hemorrhagic fever: Ebola virus, Marburg virus, Crimean-Congo virus and Lassa virus. Werker said there are other hemorrhagic fevers, like Dangue, but those are not transmissible from person to person. As a precaution, doctors also isolated some of Ogilvie’s family members while they investigated the possibility for viral hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola but those people have been released now that it has been ruled out. Doctors still don’t know exactly what kind of illness Ogilvie is suffering from so more lab tests are being done into other diseases like Malaria.”Malaria is not contagious from person to person. If this person has a bacterial infection that has caused an encephalitis or meningitis kind of disease, potentially that could be infectious to close contacts,” she said but explained doctors do not think there is any risk to the public. However the first test for Malaria resulted negative but they are doing another review of the test slide just to make sure. “A pathologist looks underneath a microscope and actually has to identify those organisms on the slide, so it could be like looking for a needle in a haystack,” said Werker. Ministry of Health gets information about diseases and outbreaks from the World Health Organization (WHO) that is then circulated to Saskatchewan’s medical health officers. She said they provide info to physicians in the community to alert their diagnostic suspicion of those diseases. “The fact that viral hemorrhagic fever was considered in this circumstance is a great indication that our systems are working to keep our residents safe,” said Werker. Ogilvie returned to Saskatchewan on March 8 but did not start to show symptoms until March 20. Werker stressed there was no risk to public health between that time for people on the aircraft or on public transit because most people only become contagious once they are symptomatic. There would also have to be direct contact between bodily fluids like blood or using his toothbrush.

 

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By Dana Ford CNN

Canada patient tests negative for Ebola

WHO says testing will continue

UPDATED 10:19 AM CDT Mar 25, 2014
Ebola virus

 

(CNN) —A man in Canada who was suspected of having Ebola has tested negative for viral hemorrhagic fevers, according to the World Health Organization and Canadian health officials.

Viral hemorrhagic fevers is a generic term that refers to a number of diseases found in Africa, including Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and yellow fever, according to Denise Werker, deputy chief medical health officer at the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health.

Testing on the man continues, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said in a tweet. “May be malaria. Will know today.”

“The patient in Saskatchewan does not have Ebola, Lassa, Marburg or Crimean Congo virus,” said a statement from the Deputy Chief Public Health Office in Saskatchewan.

“The risk to Canadians remains very low. In addition, the ruling out of those four hemorrhagic viruses significantly reduces the risk to people who have been in close contact with the patient while the patient has exhibited symptoms.”

Health officials in Canada said Monday they were looking into the case of a man exhibiting symptoms consistent with viral hemorrhagic fevers. He had recently traveled from Liberia.

“There is no risk to the general public at all about this incident. We recognize that there’s going to be a fair amount of concern, and that’s why we wanted to go public with this as soon as possible and dispel some of those myths that are out there,” Werker told reporters Monday.

 

Read More Here

 

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Earth Watch Report  –  Biological Hazards

World Health Organisation/AFP/File

An expert works in a mobile laboratory in Mweka in DR Congo in 2007 after Ebola cases were confirmed. A senior health ministry official in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday ruled out a new Ebola outbreak in the northeast of the country, after possible cases were reported by UN staff. – Copyright : World Health Organisation/AFP/File

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03.06.2013 Biological Hazard Democratic Republic of the Congo Eastern Province, Bas-Uele Damage level Details

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Biological Hazard in Democratic Republic of the Congo on Wednesday, 29 May, 2013 at 21:11 (09:11 PM) UTC.

Description
Six suspected cases of Ebola have been reported in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, just six months after an outbreak of the deadly virus ended in the area, the United Nations said Wednesday. Sylvestre Ntumba, an official working for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the cases had been recorded between May 1 and May 12 in the Bas-Uele district, in the northeastern Orientale Province. “Six suspected cases of Ebola haemorrhagic fever have been reported,” he told reporters at a press conference in Kinshasa. “With the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO), a team from the provincial health division is on the ground to investigate and to take samples,” he said, adding they are currently awaiting results. To date, no treatment or vaccine is available for Ebola, which kills between 25 and 90 percent of those who fall sick, depending on the strain of the virus, according to the WHO. The disease is transmitted by direct contact with blood, faeces or sweat, or by sexual contact or unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.
Biohazard name: Ebola
Biohazard level: 4/4 Hazardous
Biohazard desc.: Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic or unidentified diseases. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a Level Four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, autonomous detection system, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a Biosafety Level 4 (P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.
Symptoms:
Status: suspected

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ReliefWeb

Six suspected cases of Ebola reported in DR Congo: UN

Published on 29 May 2013

05/29/2013 13:20 GMT

KINSHASA, May 29, 2013 (AFP) – Six suspected cases of Ebola have been reported in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, just six months after an outbreak of the deadly virus ended in the area, the United Nations said Wednesday.

Sylvestre Ntumba, an official working for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the cases had been recorded between May 1 and May 12 in the Bas-Uele district, in the northeastern Orientale Province.

“Six suspected cases of Ebola haemorrhagic fever have been reported,” he told reporters at a press conference in Kinshasa.

“With the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO), a team from the provincial health division is on the ground to investigate and to take samples,” he said, adding they are currently awaiting results.

To date, no treatment or vaccine is available for Ebola, which kills between 25 and 90 percent of those who fall sick, depending on the strain of the virus, according to the WHO.

The disease is transmitted by direct contact with blood, faeces or sweat, or by sexual contact or unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.

Ebola, one of the world’s most virulent diseases, was first discovered in the DRC in 1976 and the country has had eight outbreaks.

The most recent epidemic, in the same region, infected 62 people and left 34 dead between May and November last year, according to the country’s health ministry.

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‘No Ebola outbreak’ in DR Congo

World Health Organisation/AFP/File

An expert works in a mobile laboratory in Mweka in DR Congo in 2007 after Ebola cases were confirmed. A senior health ministry official in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday ruled out a new Ebola outbreak in the northeast of the country, after possible cases were reported by UN staff. – Copyright : World Health Organisation/AFP/File

KINSHASA (AFP)

A senior health ministry official in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday ruled out an Ebola outbreak in the northeast of the country, after possible cases were reported by United Nations staff.

“There were six cases, including four children under five and two adults, who suffered from fever and haemorrhagic symptoms. We have carried out analyses at the INRB (National Institute of Biomedical Research) and the results are negative… It’s not Ebola,” Benoit Kabela Ilunga, who runs the contagious diseases department at the ministry, told AFP.

Kabela added that further tests were in hand to determine which disease had killed three of the children among the six cases reported last Wednesday by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Read Full Article Here

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Public release date: 2-May-2013

Contact: Jim Kelly
jpkelly@utmb.edu
409-772-8791
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Ebola’s secret weapon revealed

 

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston scientists determined that Ebola short-circuits the immune system using proteins that work together to shut down cellular signaling related to interferon. Disruption of this activity, the researchers found, allows Ebola to prevent the full development of dendritic cells that would otherwise trigger an immune response to the virus.

“Dendritic cells typically undergo a process called ‘maturation’ when they’re infected by a virus — they change shape and present antigens on their surface that tell T-cells to attack that particular virus, thus generating an adaptive immune response,” said UTMB professor Alexander Bukreyev, senior author of a paper on the discovery now online in the Journal of Virology. “But Ebola prevents dendritic-cell maturation and produces a severe infection without an effective adaptive immune response. We found that its ability to do this depends on several specific regions of two different proteins.”

Bukreyev’s research group made the discovery after a series of procedures that started with a clone of the Ebola Zaire virus strain. Working under maximum-containment conditions in a biosafety level 4 facility in UTMB’s Galveston National Laboratory, the team introduced mutations into the virus’ genetic code at four locations thought to generate proteins that affected immune response.

They then infected human dendritic cells with each of the resulting new strains and compared the results with those produced by unmutated Ebola Zaire. Each of the four new viruses, they found, was unable to suppress dendritic-cell maturation.

“We saw two very interesting things,” Bukreyev said. “First, that these mutations restore maturation of dendritic cells very effectively, and second, that a mutation in even one of these genetic domains makes the virus unable to suppress maturation. That means that the virus needs multiple combined effects in order to undermine the immune system in this way.”

Ebola’s ability to evade the human immune response is one of the factors that accounts for its high mortality rate — up to 90 percent in humans — and the notoriety that it gained after its first appearance in Zaire in 1976, in an outbreak that killed 280 people. Zaire — now the Democratic Republic of the Congo — is the home country of Ndongala Lubaki, lead author on the paper and a postdoctoral fellow at UTMB.

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Other authors of the Journal of Virology paper include postdoctoral fellow Phillipp Ilinykh, assistant research lab director Collette Pietzsch, research scientist Bersabeh Tigabu, assistant professor Alexander Freiberg and Richard Koup of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Vaccine Research Center. This research was supported by the John Sealy Memorial Endowment Fund and the James W. McLaughlin Endowment.

Earth Watch Report  –  Epidemic Hazards

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Medical Xpress.com

 EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization that focuses on local conservation and global health issues, released new research on Ebola virus in fruit bats in the peer reviewed journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases, a monthly publication by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study found Ebola virus antibodies circulating in ~4% of the 276 bats scientists screened in Bangladesh. These results suggest that Rousettus fruit bats are a reservoir for Ebola, or a new Ebola-like virus in South Asia. The study extends the range of this lethal disease further than previously suspected to now include mainland Asia. “Research on Filoviruses in Asia is a new frontier of critical importance to human health, and this study has been vital to better understand the wildlife reservoirs and potential transmission routes for Ebola virus in Bangladesh and the region,” said Dr. Kevin Olival, lead author and Senior Research Scientist at EcoHealth Alliance.

Read Full Report  Here

Earth Watch Report  –  Epidemic  Hazards

 

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27.11.2012 Epidemic Hazard Uganda Central Uganda, [Sombwe Parish, Nyimbwa Sub County, Luwero district] Damage level
Details

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Details of Situation Update

Epidemic Hazard in Uganda on Wednesday, 14 November, 2012 at 15:10 (03:10 PM) UTC.

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Updated: Tuesday, 27 November, 2012 at 15:44 UTC
Description
Uganda’s Ministry of Health, said the WHO, continues to conduct active surveillance and investigation on all cases in the four affected districts and close contacts of the cases are being followed-up for a period of 21 days. WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Uganda Red Cross (URCS), African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), Plan Uganda and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) are supporting the national authorities in the investigation and response to the outbreak, said the organization. Experts have been deployed through the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) to strengthen the field team, it said. Health professionals in the country are receiving training on infection prevention and control (IPC) and on field information management. Social mobilization activities are being conducted to raise awareness on prevention and control of the disease. Much the same response has been implemented for the latest outbreak of Ebola in the country, according to the WHO. The latest Ebola outbreak has killed five people in Luweero and Kampala, said the organization. As of Nov. 23, Uganda’s Ministry of Health reported 10 cases, with six confirmed and four probable, including the deaths, said the WHO. The last confirmed case of Ebola was hospitalized on Nov. 17, it said.

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Earth Watch Report –  Epidemic  Hazards

 

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20.11.2012 Epidemic Hazard Uganda Central Uganda, [Sombwe Parish, Nyimbwa Sub County, Luwero district] Damage level
Details

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Epidemic Hazard in Uganda on Wednesday, 14 November, 2012 at 15:10 (03:10 PM) UTC.

Description
The deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever has broken out in the central Ugandan district of Luwero about one month after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the East African country free of the disease. Joaquim Saweka, the WHO country representative told Xinhua by telephone on Wednesday that the outbreak was confirmed on Tuesday following laboratory tests that turned out positive for the disease. “Yes that is true, we have dispatched one team to make preliminary assessment and also set up an isolation unit,” he said. The epicenter of the outbreak is in Sombwe Parish, Nyimbwa Sub County, Luwero district which is located about 40km north of the capital Kampala. Joseph Okware, the Luwero District Health Officer was quoted by Daily Monitor on Wednesday as saying that two people belonging to the same family had died of the disease over the weekend. The outbreak comes at a time when the country is still experiencing the deadly Marburg fever in several parts of western Uganda. In July this year the Ebola outbreak in the Midwestern Ugandan district of Kibaale left at least 20 people dead. Ebola victims present with symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, measles-like rash, red eyes, and sometimes with bleeding from body openings.
Biohazard name: Ebola
Biohazard level: 4/4 Hazardous
Biohazard desc.: Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic or unidentified diseases. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a Level Four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, autonomous detection system, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a Biosafety Level 4 (P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

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Epidemic Hazard in Uganda on Wednesday, 14 November, 2012 at 15:10 (03:10 PM) UTC.

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Updated: Tuesday, 20 November, 2012 at 04:00 UTC
Description
One person succumbed to the Ebola virus Sunday, bringing the death toll in the latest outbreak of the dreaded haemorrhagic fever in Uganda to five. The victim, a 29-year-old woman, died at Bombo Hospital, some 30 kilometres north of the capital Kampala, where she was admitted on Tuesday last week. Halima Nakimbugwe is said to have contracted the disease while nursing her husband, a boda boda rider, who was the first person to die in the latest epidemic in Luweero District. Ministry of Health spokesperson Rukia Nakamatte, said Nakimbugwe died yesterday afternoon at Bombo Hospital, where results of the tests carried out confirmed that she had contracted Ebola. Two other people confirmed to have been infected with the virus have been admitted to Mulago Hospital. Another 12 suspected to have been infected with the virus are also admitted to Mulago, while another six are at Bombo Hospital. “The number of confirmed Ebola patients remains the two admitted to Mulago Hospital, while the number of contacts has risen from 34 to 40. These are being monitored both in Kampala and Bombo,” Ms Nakamatte said.

Another person, this time from Mbarara in the western region of the country, was also admitted to Mulago yesterday after he presented signs of the Ebola fever. His blood samples have been taken for tests and results are expected soon. In Luweero, a burial team set up by the District Ebola Task Force to ensure that bodies of those confirmed or suspected to have Ebola are handled and buried by a special team, yesterday narrowly escaped lynching by mourners who snatched a body from the Nakatonya Muslim Cemetery in Bombo Town Council. According the Luweero District disease surveillance officer, Mr Richard Kawenyera, the mourners armed with clubs, sticks and stones accused the special burial team of violating Muslim burial rites by wrapping the dead body in a bag. They insisted on washing the body before burial as part of the Islamic rites. “We are worried because we do not know what happened afterwards. The blood sample was taken to the Uganda Virus Research Institute and the results had not been received to confirm whether or not he died of Ebola. If a positive result turns up, these people will have touched the body of an Ebola victim,” Mr Kawenyera said on Saturday. The Luweero District Health Officer, Dr Joseph Okware, said the man’s body had been taken to the Nyimbwa Health Centre IV by relatives, after he was found dead in a store at Ndejje University on Friday.

“They wanted us to ascertain the cause of death since he is a resident of Kakute Village in Nyimbwa Sub-county, where there has been an Ebola outbreak. We handled the case carefully until we got information that the mourners had grabbed the body from our team.” A special isolation centre for both the suspected and confirmed cases is being set up with the support from the Medecines Sans Frotiers, at Nyimbwa Health Centre IV, where patients are expected to be transferred to from Bombo Military Hospital on Monday (today). In Nakasongola District, traditional healers have been banned from admitting patients whom they do not know following the Ebola outbreak which has claimed two lives in the neighbouring Luweero District. This follows reports that an Ebola patient from Luweero may have been rushed to one of the traditional medicine men’s shrines in Nakasongola before she died. This has sparked off panic among local residents.

 

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