Two hours ago, Matt Smith, of CNN wrote Ebola toll tops 85 in West Africa, out of suspected 137 cases. With 3 suspected cases in Mali, Mali joins Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone as countries struggling to contain the "outbreak." One case is suspected in Gambia, however, government officials there deny it is Ebola. Senegal has closed its borders with Guinea, and Saudi Arabia has canceled visas for many West African countries.
From CNN: Ebola toll tops 85 in West Africa
The deaths are among the 137 cases reported by the World Health Organization, which said the outbreak has "rapidly evolved" since originating in the forests of southeastern Guinea. The city of Guekedou, near the borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia, has seen the majority of the deaths.
Five people are believed to have died in Guinea's capital, Conakry, according to WHO. Two of the victims had traveled to the region. ... It's the first emergence of Ebola in western Africa, and WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said the U.N. agency is trying to track people who had encountered the victims and make sure "that all those who have been in contact with infected people are being checked upon."
In Liberia, seven Ebola deaths have been confirmed out of 14 suspected cases. Sierra Leone is investigating at least two deaths. The aid organization Doctors Without Borders has called the outbreak unprecedented, because previous cases have been limited to a small area.
Mali's government reported on its Facebook page on Thursday that biological samples tied to three suspected Ebola cases within its borders are being sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for analysis.
The World Health Organization reports five people are believed to have died of Ebola in Guinea's capital of Conakry, which is densely populated and has a population of between 2 to 3.5 million.
Yesterday, Liberia reported its first independent case of a hunter not related to visitors to funeral in Guinea, which Doctors without Borders. Tensions are emerging as representatives of Doctors Without Borders have accuses he WHO of trying to "downplay" the "what is happening," with the WHO insisting that this not be called an "epidemic" but an "outbreak."
Western Africa is bracing against an unprecedented outbreak of the deadly ebola virus. Guinea is the country affected the worst by the viral hemorrhagic fever. Since January, 86 people have died from it, out of 137 cases.
Epidemiologist Michel Van Herp, in Guinea with the non-governmental organisation MSF (Doctors Without Borders) said: “We are facing a scale that has never been seen before, looking at the number of cases in different areas.”
Death tolls in the past have been higher than in Guinea so far, such as in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2001 and Uganda the year before. But this time cases have been found far apart, not geographically concentrated. MSF describes ebola as one of the world’s deadliest diseases. There is no cure. ...Van Herp said: “We are facing the most aggressive strain of ebola, the Zaire strain. It kills more than nine out of 10 people infected.”
New York Times: Ebola Reaches Capital of Guinea, Stirring Fears — “An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the West African nation of Guinea has reached the crowded capital, Conakry, prompting new fears about its spread, health officials said Tuesday.Over the past month, the disease has traveled from Guinea’s remote forest regions near the Liberia and Sierra Leone borders and has already killed 83 people, including four in Conakry.”
NPR: Why Is Guinea’s Ebola Outbreak So Unusual? — “What is also important is to inform the population about the disease. This is the first time Ebola is detected in Guinea, so the population and the medical staff don’t know the disease. They need to be [told] how the disease is spread and how you can protect yourself, and what you need to do when you or somebody else has the symptoms (meaning that you have to go to an area where you can be isolated).”
Reuters: Miners in lock-down in Guinea as Ebola death toll hits 84 — “Foreign mining firms have locked down operations in Guinea and pulled out some international staff, executives said on Wednesday, as the death toll from suspected cases of Ebola there hit 84. The West African nation’s government said four new suspected cases of one of the world’s most lethal infectious diseases had been reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 134.”
Here are a few articles from last night's late updates. I will put updates from tonight in updates here in a few minutes. Sorry, to be so late tonight. Real life can be so distracting.
One of the headlines from yesterday is that health official are looking for more than 400 people through contact tracing they believe have been exposed to the virus.
Yesterday, Wisper sent me this disturbing news: Liberia Reports Ebola Outbreak Unconnected to Guinea.
This case appears to have originated independently within the borders of Liberia with a hunter who has more than 500 traps and has had many contacts with other people, and "many, many" people may have eaten his animals. I just learned last night that in addition to monkeys, bats, and primates, antelopes and gazelle can be infected with the virus so if a major food source is infect this could get worse very quickly.
All previous cases in Liberia were attributed to people returning from Guinea.
"He was rushed to the hospital and died 30 minutes later. He never had any interaction with someone suspected to be a carrier of the virus and he has never gone to Guinea. This an a isolated case."
"The huntsman has 500 traps in the forest. He felt sick in the forest and was rushed to the hospital," Dahn told AFP, adding that seven new patients brought the total suspected Ebola cases in Liberia to 14.
"If the case in Tapeta is confirmed then we will have to worry because so many people might have eaten or touched the animals killed by the hunter. I am from Tapeta, I am scared," said Peter Dahn, 54, who had come to a public meeting in Monrovia.
"Our efforts are aimed at containing the outbreak, which is accomplished by detection of the sick and isolating them from the rest of the population," said Anja Wolz, emergency coordinator of health charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Conakry.
From the Guardian, Ebola Virus Outbreak Unprecedented
Ebola infection tends to last 14 to 21 days. Signs of infection begin with flu-like symptoms such as fever and muscle aches, and progress to severe bleeding, rash, coagulation abnormalities, and gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Symptoms also include vomiting and diarrhea. The infected patient’s body develops exaggerated inflammatory responses and liver damage; and coagulopathy (the inability to clot blood), which produces uncontrolled internal or external bleeding. The patient eventually dies of diffuse bleeding and hypotensive shock. Transmission of ebola occurs by direct contact with the blood, tissues or body fluids infected patients. This creates a dilemma for health care workers. The patients need to be treated with dignity, and it is important to maintain family links but at the same time, there is a need to protect the family and the community from contamination.
Ebola is an unusual virus in that it can “jump species” – it can be communicated to humans from sick or dead animals such as fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelopes and gorillas. There is currently no antiviral therapy or vaccine that is effective against Ebola virus infection in humans, but it is a very active area of biological research. This means that the only way to curtail the deadly outbreak is to prevent its spread.
The suspected cases and deaths in Sierra Leone and Liberia that were reported to WHO were people who had traveled to regions already affected. Senegal has blocked the border with Guinea indefinitely. In response to the unprecedented outbreak of the Ebola virus, WHO has recommended that other neighboring countries step up surveillance but has not yet recommended restriction of trade or travel to Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone.
Foreign mining firms are locking down operation and sending international staff home until more information is available.
The executive said he had been placed on extended leave, while other companies were preventing people from entering or leaving their mines. ... Brazilian iron ore miner Vale ... had pulled its six international staff out of Guinea. ... "The expatriates have been transferred temporarily to their home countries," Vale said "
There has not been any official statement from the chamber of mines but the executive said mining firms had been calling each other to discuss the best response. "People are locking down camps and keeping movements to a minimum," the executive added.
Neighbouring Senegal has closed its land borders with Guinea, and countries across the region have taken precautionary measures, including banning the sale and consumption of bats, a regional delicacy but an animal believed to be a vector for the virus.
This article also mentions the possibility of cases in Gambia but a spokesperson from the Ministery of Promotion of Healh denies it.
According to medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières, the outbreak started about two weeks ago and has now spread to several disparate geographical locations, including Sierra Leone and Liberia. ... According to the UN's World Health Organization, some 400 people have been flagged as potential Ebola contacts in Guinea
"We are facing an epidemic of a magnitude never before seen in terms of the distribution of cases in the country," said Mariano Lugli, co-ordinator of MSF's project in Conakry.
The capital city of Guinea, Conakry, is home to 2 million inhabitants and an international airport, prompting fears that this could turn into a disaster. Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the world with limited medical facilities and a large population living in slums where the virus could spread quickly. ... But Médecins Sans Frontières says it's remarkable the outbreak had spread to several places — including a major city. Already, Liberia's senate has declared a state of emergency, closing its borders to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast.
And we can always count on the Daily Mail to have the most sensationalistic headlines and captions of any newspaper. I was tempted for a moment to put this in a headline to mock its grade B science fiction flavor, but out of sensitivity and empathy to some of our Kossacks here who have family and loved one in Conakry I decided it is best to leave this down in the lowest spot where it belongs.
A terrifying fight against the deadliest virus on Earth: Medic reveals true horror of Ebola outbreak as incurable disease liquifies victims from the inside. ... A medic has spoken of the horrific scenes witnessed by emergency doctors and nurses in the fight against the deadly Ebola outbreak in Guinea. ... 'You can be helping somebody by getting them a juice, or a glass of cold water, or whatever he wants because you know really he has very little chance to survive, and then less than an hour later he is dead,' Mr Dridi told the Daily Telegraph.
'Then when you are putting his body in the bag, another one behind you has died. Then another one.' ... There is no cure for the virus, and no vaccine which can protect against it.
He said it was difficult for both medics and the families of those affected to move patients into isolation tents to prevent the virus being passed to relatives and staff. ... 'They know we can only treat the symptoms, not the virus. Whether that person survives or not is only down to whether the body reacts well and fights the illness,' said Mr Drdi, who has now returned to the MSF headquarters in Switzerland.
Ben Neuman, a virologist at the University of Reading, notes how densely populated Conakry is and says, "An Ebola outbreak there could lead to a humanitarian disaster. ''
Liberia's Senate has passed bill to declare a state of emergency which will lead to a closure of all borders. Their lower house was expected to vote on that today. Most of these articles are from my que from late last night. I am posting theses here and will retrieve the latest one while you are reading this.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner Ebola Virus Continues to Ravage Guinea and Liberia
The Washington Post noted that as of today, the death toll has climbed to 86, ... According to the Post, people have stopped shaking hands or going to church for fear of getting the virus. And those who do contract the disease are sent into isolation, where they wait to die:
Ebola is so virulent that those who do test positive can only wait to die in a special ward where they are treated by medical personnel wearing protective suits and gear. The Zaire strain detected in Guinea kills up to 90 percent of its victims, and with no cure all that can be done is to make patients comfortable as their organs begin failing... Those who have been exposed to Ebola in southern Guinea are kept in one ward. If it’s confirmed they do have Ebola, they then are moved to the second pavilion to await death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the symptoms for Ebola are, disturbingly, rather generic. They include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite — a lot of what you might feel if you had the flu. ... Dr. Jean-Louis Mosser, said ..."Some people in the street were wearing masks. This is useless, because as a general rule, the virus is not transmitted through air... Ebola may be very lethal, but it can be stopped by isolating patients and protecting those who have direct contact with them."
I can imagine that if people realize that government official are using contact tracing informatiton to put those suspected of infection in a big ward with others suspected of infection, waiting for them to die, they may cease to coooperate with officials. I doubt I would.
I mean honestly, knowing what you know now, if you were in Guinea, and you had a loved one with fever, headache, and muscle aches, and didn't know if it was flu or Ebola would you take them to one of these wards, where they would likely become infected, or would you hide them in a back room and take care of them yourself until you were sure?
If this epidemic keeps growing for a few more doublings we are going to start to see much more of this kind of drama. Like troops cordoning off entire areas. The Liberian Senate already voted yesterday, to close all three of its borders. I found this article while checking to see if the lower House concurred this morning. If so, they will have troops on the border turning back anyone trying to cross. Just preparing people for what we might soon be seeing here.
5:30 PM PT: The Jerusalem Post offers this travel advisory from Israel's Ministry Ebola fever warning for travelers to West Africa, but it’s difficult to catch:There is no approved therapy for Ebola but transmission requires blood contact.
The outbreak of Ebola fever in Western Africa has induced the Health Ministry to issue recommendations to Israeli travelers to the areas. The viral disease, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) begins with sudden flu-like symptoms of fever with chills, chest pain and general discomfort along with nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting, a cough, sore throat and even hiccups. ... It can develop into headaches, agitation, confusion, fatigue, depression, seizures and sometimes a coma. In half of all cases, there is bleeding from mucous membranes. Death occurs due to multiple-organ dysfunction syndrome.
However, the danger of infection to travelers is “very low,” according to the WHO, because transmission requires direct blood contact (dirty epidermic needles) of contact with human excrement or stools of animals that are either dead or alive. Travelers to the affected areas are advised to avoid contact with sick people and animals (including their meat).
There is no approved therapy for EHF. The World Health Organization said the outbreak is occurring in Guékédou, Macenta, Kissidougou, Dabola and Djingaraye districts in Guinea and in the Lofa region in Liberia bordering with Guinea.
5:53 PM PT: Joshua Keating of Slate provides insight into the growing frustration of Doctors Without Borders with the WHO who they believe is downplaying the epidemic because they are reading scripts written from previous epidemics telling he public not to panic because authorities have everything under control. Why West Africa’s Ebola Outbreak Is So Scary
That’s in part why the current outbreak in Guinea, which has already killed at least 83 people, is so alarming. The disease has now reached the capital, Conakry, and has also seen confirmed cases in Liberia, and suspected cases in Sierra Leone. The outbreak has jumped international borders, the epicenter is in a country that has never seen an outbreak before, meaning medical staff are relatively inexperienced, and it’s now in a crowded city of nearly 2 million people.
On Monday, Medicins Sans Frontieres’ Conakry coordinator, Mariano Lugli, slammed the World Health Organization’s response to the outbreak and called the outbreak an “epidemic of a magnitude never before seen.”
Considering what the world has seen before from Ebola, that’s a pretty alarming statement.
Doctors Without Borders seems to believe that honesty and candor build and maintain credibility while propaganda backfires.
I will put more updates from tonight below. As you can imagine news is breaking out all over.
Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 10:44 PM PT: MrsGoo asks an interesting question which I answered in two parts. Here is the second. The first is below.
the good news is that this virus is reported to is a relatively difficult virus to get, compared to say the flu which spreads quickly.
Except for immediate droplets in spit, and phlegm from a sneeze, it is not airborne.
Most of the people who have been infected until this most recent outbreak, have been the immediate family of an infected person who cleaned up the vomit and diarrhea of sick person before they realized it was Ebola so they did not take proper precaution. Eight health workers died in Guinea, before they were alerted.
Or, touching dead bodies at funeral which is a tribal custom in this region. Most people in this region live by tribal traditions. This is not like western big cities.
One unusual aspect of this "outbreak" is there appear to be multiple outbreaks related to contact with infected animals.
The one hunter in LIberia has no connection to the funeral in Guinea that were originally thought to be the sole source of all the cases. The hunter had 500 traps.
The game animals that can become infected and transmit the virus includes monkeys, apes, chimpanzees, but also antelopes, gazelles, and bats.
The fear in LIberia is that this hunter who had 500 traps has been selling them to, and possibly infecting numerous customers. He died 30 minutes after turning himself into a health clinic.
He was the strong heroic type that continued working right up to the very end.
The delay between incubation to first conspicuous symptoms is 2 to 21 days. So, goodness only knows how many people he could have infected.
Or how many other animals in the region are infected. Can we expect people in this region to stop eating game meat?