New procedures for travel to and from
Ebola virus high risk areas
Ghana to serve as int'l logistics base for Ebola-hit countries
by Justice Lee Adoboe
ACCRA, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations (UN) and other international organizations seeking to send logistics support to Ebola-hit countries in West Africa will use Ghana as their logistics base for onwards transmission into those countries, information received from the presidency late Friday said.
It said President John Mahama had agreed to a request from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to that effect.
"This follows a Friday evening telephone conversation between President Mahama and Ban Ki-moon. The UN and other International Organizations will therefore use Accra as a Center for airlifting supplies and personnel to the most affected countries - Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea," the statement said.
Friday, Senegal also reported its first case of Ebola when a student from Guinea who was suffering from the Eola Virus Disease (EVD) escaped to a hospital in Dakar, the Senegalese capital seeking treatment.
Most regular commercial flights into the affected areas in West Africa have been suspended, making it difficult for equipment, logistics and personnel to reach the affected nations.
"Using Accra as the Logistics and Coordination Center would therefore open a vital corridor to get urgently-needed supplies and health personnel into the affected countries and areas," according to the statement.
It said the UN and Ghana will work closely to put in place appropriate screening and prevention measures to avoid any adverse effects on Ghana as a result of the operations of the Logistics Center.
In addition to that, it said the UN would also assist Ghana in reviewing and strengthening the country's Ebola preparedness, as steps are taken to prevent the virus from entering the country.
The World Health Organization puts the EVD infection cases in West Africa at over 3,000 with over half of that figure already dead.
West of England P&I Club has now a dedicated webpage on Ebola virus (www.westpandi.com/Special/Ebola-Virus) providing all latest updates, information and useful weblinks for the situation arised due to the outbreak in West Africa.
The Club reports that so far there are no restrictions to entry into Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria being the main countries are affected by Ebola. The only restrictions are those posted in Club's last update:
- Argentina's River Plate area - pilots will not be allowed to go on board any vessels coming from ports affected with Ebola until further notice.
- Brazil - ANVISA guidelines - all vessels calling at Brazilian ports must present a Maritime Declaration of Health (MDH) to be submitted 12 hours prior to the vessels arrival in port.
- US Coast Guard bulletin 7 August - all vessels coming to US ports from Ebola affected ports must inform the relevant port authority 15 days prior to arrival if anyone on board has any communicable disease including Ebola.
- South Africa - stowaways/crew - greater restrictions and inspections for vessels coming from affected ports to determine if anyone on board is infected. This will cause delays and problems particularly with landing stowaways at these ports.
Crew should be carefully monitored for any signs or symptoms of the Ebola virus particularly after vessel's departure from an affected port. The main symptoms to look out for are:
- Sudden onset of fever
- Intense weakness, muscle pain and headaches
- vomiting and diarrhoea
- rash, internal and external bleeding
Further information may be found at West of England P&I Club website
Also click at the following articles to learn more about the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa and how to protect crew
South African Airways (SAA) has introduced new procedures for travel to and from
Ebola virus high risk areas with passengers required to seek permission to
travel from the national Department of Health.
travellers between South Africa and the Ebola high-risk areas in West Africa
must follow the new procedures introduced for the airlines aimed at ensuring
compliance with a recent cabinet decision.
measures are effective as we speak,” SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said on
has previously advised South Africans to avoid all non-essential travel to
Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone but in cases where travel is absolutely
essential, permission must be obtained from the relevant
new procedures state that all intending travellers must request permission to
travel from South Africa to the high risk areas or from the high risk areas to
to travel must be sought from the national Department of Health. All requests
from travellers must be addressed to the Director-General: Health, for the
attention of Dr Frew Benson and sent to the following address: Nathoc1@health.gov.za and Nathoc2@health.gov.za;Tel: (012)
395-9367 or (012) 395-9366.
following information must be provided when requesting permission to
personal details, including residential addresses of South African citizens or
in the case of non-South Africans, the address of residence while in South
Africa (ie, hotel, etc.);
of kin details in the case of South African citizens;
details of the reasons for travel to or from South Africa;
traveller must complete a Traveller Health Questionnaire and submit it with the
request to travel;
written response from the national Department of Health will be provided
informing the applicant of the outcome of their request to
travel restrictions do not apply to all five destinations namely Benin, Ghana,
Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Senegal that SAA flies to in West
of them fall under high-risk category. Our schedule to those destinations
remains unaffected,” explained Tlali.
remains committed to ensuring the enforcement of national and international
health protocols associated with air transport in the interests of its
passengers and the destinations it flies to.
week, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced that South Africa has taken the
decision to impose a total travel ban for all non-citizens traveling from
identified high risk countries to limit the spread of Ebola to the country,
unless the travel is considered absolutely essential.
media at a briefing in Pretoria, Minister Motsoaledi said in addition, citizens
of South Africa who wish to travel to these countries will be requested to delay
their travel unless it is also absolutely essential for them to
Minister was briefing media following a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, where he
presented an update on the Ebola outbreak.
1 000 people have died from the virus in West Africa, according to the World
Health Organisation. Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have each declared the
outbreak a national disaster. - SAnews.gov.za
Ebola toll tops 1,550, outbreak accelerates: WHO
Written by Reuters, Thursday, 28 August 2014
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,552 people out of 3,069 known cases in four countries and "continues to accelerate", the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday.
The epidemic in the region, the deadliest since the disease was first discovered in 1976, has killed nearly as many people as all the previous known outbreaks combined.
"More than 40 percent of the total number of cases have occurred within the past 21 days. However, most cases are concentrated in only a few localities," the United Nations health agency said in a statement.
The WHO is later due to launch a new strategic plan for tackling the spread of the virulent disease.
A separate Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, identified as a different strain of the virus, is not included in the latest figures which cover Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
The disease has overwhelmed West Africa's already fragile health infrastructure. On Wednesday, the head of the African Development Bank said it was causing enormous damage to the economies of the region.
The WHO on Thursday warned that the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa could infect more than 20,000 people.
The United Nations health agency issued a strategic plan to combat the oubreak in four West African nations where it said the actual number of cases could already be two to four times higher than the reported 3,069.
"This roadmap assumes that in many areas of intense transmission the actual number of cases may be 2-4 fold higher than that currently reported. It acknowledges that the aggregate case load of Ebola Virus Disease could exceed 20,000 over the course of this emergency," the WHO said.
The deadly outbreak that began in Guinea in March and has spread to neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone as well as to Nigeria requires a massive and coordinated international response, the WHO said.
"Response activities must be adapted in areas of very intense transmission and particular attention must be given to stopping transmission in capital cities and major ports, thereby facilitating the larger response and relief effort," the WHO said.
The virus is still being spread in a "substantial number of localities", aggravating fragile social and economic conditions and has already killed an unprecedented number of health workers, the agency said.
A wider U.N.-led plan being launched by the end of September is "expected to underpin support for the increasingly acute problems associated with food security, protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, primary and secondary health care and education, as well as the longer-term recovery effort that will be needed," the WHO said.
closure of borders because of the outbreak of Ebola in the DRC the
Botswana is still
not allowing any truck drivers that are traveling from DRC to enter the country
at the Kazungula border post. There is also no indication on when they will
re-open the border for drivers traveling from the DRC. Trucks that only
travelled as far as Zambia are still allowed to cross. Trucks that are already
at Kazungula can be re-routed via Victoria Falls. They can then travel through
Zimbabwe to SA. We can assist with diesel in Victoria Falls, Bulawayo and
Beitbridge in Zimbabwe. Cash can be collected in Livingstone before crossing to
traveling from DRC are at the moment still crossing into Zimbabwe at the
Chirundu border post. There are also no indication that they will prevent
drivers traveling from DRC to enter Zimbabwe. Trucks traveling through Chirundu
can collect diesel in Chirundu, Kadoma, Harare and Beitbridge in Zimbabwe. Cash
can be collected in Chirundu on the Zambian side before crossing, as well as in
traveling from DRC are still allowed to enter the country at all border posts.
Drivers and trucks
are still allowed to enter Zambia from DRC at the Kasumbalesa border post.
from DRC are still allowed to enter Tanzania through the Nakonde border post.
Diesel can be collected along the route to Dar es Salaam.
from DRC are still allowed to enter Namibia. You can collect diesel at Katima
Mulilo, Swakopmund and Buitepos.
The Road Freight Association
japan ready to offer trial Ebola drug
Tokyo - Tokyo stands
ready to offer an experimental drug developed by a Japanese company to
help stem the global tide of the deadly Ebola virus, the top government
spokesperson said on Monday.
"Our country is prepared to provide
the yet-to-be approved drug in co-operation with the manufacturer if the
WHO requests," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
Health Organisation (WHO) has been discussing the use of unapproved
drugs as a way of getting a handle on an outbreak in Africa that has
already cost more than 1 400 lives, with thousands more people infected.
is currently no available cure or vaccine for Ebola, and the WHO has
declared the latest outbreak a global public health emergency.
Several drugs are under development.
use of an experimental drug called ZMapp on two Americans and a Spanish
priest infected with the virus while working in Africa has opened up an
intense ethical debate.
The drug, which is in very short supply, has reportedly shown promising results in the two Americans, although the priest died.
US company Mapp Bioparmaceutical which makes the drug said this month it had sent all its available supplies to west Africa.
The WHO earlier said a panel of medical experts had determined it is "ethical" to provide experimental treatments.
said on Monday: "Even before the WHO reaches a conclusion, we are ready
to respond to individual requests [from medical workers] under certain
conditions if it is an urgent case."
The medication Suga was
referring to is Avigan, a drug in tablet form that was approved as an
anti-influenza drug in Japan in March and is currently in clinical tests
in the United States.
Its developer Fujifilm Holdings said it had
received inquiries from abroad but declined to say how many and from
The company, which has diversified into
healthcare fields, has "no problem" over the amount of stockpiles,
according to spokesman Takao Aoki.
"We have sufficient supplies for more than 20 000 people," he said.
Meanwhile Benin, which had planned to host the 64th session of the World Health
Organisation’s (WHO’s) committee of African health ministers from
September 1-5, haqs delayed the meeting.
"This important meeting … has been postponed after
consultations with (WHO) authorities," said Benin Foreign Minister
Nassirou Arifari Bako, "to express full solidarity with the countries
affected by Ebola." Delegations from more than 40 African countries had
Benin has not yet recorded an Ebola case, but sees a
huge inflow of commercial traffic each day from Lagos, the economic
capital of neighbouring Nigeria, which has registered 14 cases,
including five deaths.
The outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever in
West Africa — the worst since the disease was discovered in the jungles
of Central Africa in 1976 — has so far killed at least 1,427 people,
mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and neighbouring Guinea.
American doctors, who contracted Ebola in Liberia and were evacuated to
the US, left hospital last week after receiving treatment with an
experimental drug, ZMapp.
WHO warns of "shadow zones" and unreported Ebola cases
Saturday 23 August 2014 06:34
Despite initial assertions
by regional health officials that the virus had been contained in its
early stages, Ebola case numbers and deaths have ballooned in recent
Families hiding infected loved ones and the existence of "shadow
zones" where medics cannot go mean the West African Ebola epidemic is
even bigger than thought, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.
Some 1 427 people have died among 2 615 known cases of the deadly virus
in West Africa since the outbreak was first identified in March,
according to new figures released by the WHO.
However the UN agency, which has faced criticism that it moved too
slowly to contain the outbreak, said that many cases had probably gone
Independent experts raised similar concerns a month ago that the
contagion could be worse than reported because some residents of
affected areas are chasing away health workers and shunning treatment.
Despite initial assertions by regional health officials that the virus
had been contained in its early stages, Ebola case numbers and deaths
have ballooned in recent months as the outbreak has spread from its
initial epicentre in Guinea.
"We think six to nine months is a reasonable estimate," Keiji Fukuda,
the WHO's Assistant Director-General for Health Security, said during a
visit to Liberia, speaking of the time the agency now believes will be
required to halt the epidemic.
An Ebola outbreak will be declared over in a country if two incubation
periods, or 42 days in total, have passed without any confirmed case, a
WHO spokesperson said.
Under-reporting of cases is a problem especially in Liberia and Sierra
Leone, currently the two countries hardest hit. The WHO said it is now
working with Medecins Sans FrontiŠres (MSF) and the US Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention to produce "more realistic estimates".
Nigeria, the fourth country affected, confirmed two new cases on Friday,
bringing the total number of recorded cases there to 14.
The country's health minister said both patients caught the disease from
people who were primary contacts of the Liberian man who first brought
it to the economic capital Lagos.
The stigma surrounding Ebola poses a serious obstacle to efforts to
contain the virus, which causes regular outbreaks in the forests of
Central Africa but is striking for the first time in the continent's
western nations and their heavily populated capitals.
"As Ebola has no cure, some believe infected loved ones will be more
comfortable dying at home," the WHO said in a statement detailing why
the outbreak had been underestimated.
"Others deny that a patient has Ebola and believe that care in an
isolation ward - viewed as an incubator of the disease - will lead to
infection and certain death."
Corpses are often buried without official notification. And there are
"shadow zones", rural areas where there are rumours of cases and deaths
that cannot be investigated because of community resistance or lack of
staff and transport.
In other cases health centres are being suddenly overwhelmed with
patients, suggesting there is an invisible caseload of patients not on
the radar of official surveillance systems.Ebola: SA imposes total and partial bans on travel
South Africa has taken the decision to impose a total travel
ban for all non-citizens traveling from identified high risk countries to limit
the spread of Ebola to the country, unless the travel is considered absolutely
Addressing media at a briefing in Pretoria, Health Minister
Aaron Motsoaledi said in addition, citizens of South Africa who wish to travel
to these countries will be requested to delay their travel unless it is also
absolutely essential for them to travel.
The high-risk countries are Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia –
with Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia being identified as medium risk.
He said the travel advisory was part of enhanced
precautionary measures to prevent the spread of Ebola into South Africa.
“All South Africans are hereby advised to avoid
non-essential travel to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone. South Africans are not
restricted from travelling to these countries, however all returning travellers
from these countries will be subjected to rigorous screening and medical
assessments before being allowed entry into the country,” said the minister.
He said South African citizens returning from these
countries will have to be subjected to a stricter screening process.
This will include completing a comprehensive health
questionnaire before gaining entry back into the country and if the
comprehensive medical questionnaire and the temperature screening reveal
something, they will have to subject themselves to a complete medical
Minister Motsoaledi said all travellers and crew members
arriving into South African Points of Entry must have completed a travel health
questionnaire upon arrival.
“If found to have any of the symptoms or signs suggestive of
Ebola, they will be referred to one of the designated hospitals for further
investigations and management,” he said.
Passengers who travelled from or through Guinea, Liberia or
Sierra Leone within the last month of arrival into South Arica must undergo
additional screening at the Points of Entry.
The minister was briefing media following Cabinet’s meeting
on Wednesday, where he presented an update on the Ebola outbreak.
Over 1000 people have died from the virus in West Africa,
according to the World Health Organisation. Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone
have each declared the outbreak a national disaster.
“Cabinet noted with concern the extent of the outbreak and
the increase of cases in three of these countries, i.e. Guinea, Sierra Leone
and Liberia, over the last week.
“Cabinet recognised that even though the outbreak has been
limited to these countries in West Africa, the spread to other countries needs
to be contained,” said Minister Motsoaledi.
He said Cabinet recognised that containing the outbreak at
the source will be essential and limit the spread and mortality caused by the
disease to these particular parts of the world.
Countries have been divided into three categories, namely
high risk which includes Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, medium risk which
includes Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia-
although some of them do not have Ebola yet; most people travelling from West Africa to South
Africa travel via these countries as well as low risk countries.
“For medium and low risk countries, the normal surveillance
that has been going on will just be enhanced.
“There is a special category of individuals who are South
Africans but work there in the mines, communications, security and retail. For
these groups, we have called a special meeting tomorrow, which will deal with
their unique situation,” explained the minister.
He said at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, a decision was
taken to establish an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to deal with the
coordination of the response.
“Cabinet further approved funding requested by the
Department of Health to the tune of R32.5 million, from the African Renaissance
Fund to support containment and prevent further spread of the virus to South
Africa and other countries.
“Part of the funds will be used to deploy the mobile
laboratory in Sierra Leone, fund transport and accommodation for the team and
training for health care workers.”
The Minister said the department had taken measures to
enhance surveillance, distribute guidelines to all hospitals in public and
private sectors, designate health facilities for the treatment of patients,
deployed personal protective equipment (PPE) to designated facilities,
conducted training, activated outbreak response teams and is operating a
hotline for clinicians through the NICD.
Regarding the patient from Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in
Johannesburg that was suspected of having the virus, the Minister once again
reiterated that his results for Ebola tested negative.
EBOLA SCARE NOW ALSO AFFECTING SA TOURISM DESPITE ASSURANCES
Fears are mounting that the South African tourism
industry may not only be badly affected by new immigration and visa regulations,
but now also by the Ebola scare, which has already prompted tourists and
business people from Brazil and Asia to cancel their trips to the country and
Newspaper reports say that a number of tourists have
cancelled their plans to travel to SA in August, September and October and have
cited the virus as a reason for the cancellation.
Executive head of the Southern African Tourism Services
Association (SATSA), has confirmed (to Die Burger newspaper) that a group of 1
500 tourists from Thailand, have cancelled their trip, while a number of smaller
groups from around Asia have done the same.
News24 reports that tour operators are concerned that if
someone should test positive in SA it would create mass hysteria and further
hurt tourism. They say Chinese tourists are very health conscious and get easily
put off when a health scare arisies. Another group from Brazil cancelled a trip
to Namibia to attend a conference there.
Fact is that, to date, there have been no positive
results in SA or Namibia.
Last week a woman who arrived in SA from Guinea was
found to be negative after undergoing tests for the deadly virus, while on
Sunday another man – a health worker - who had arrived back from Liberia was
also brought in for testing, which also proved negative.
Travellers from South Africa and the rest of Africa now
require a health certificate to enter Indonesia, as a result of the Ebola
outbreak. Airlines seem to be largely unaware of the new requirement. Passengers
without correct documentation risk being denied entry into the country when
applying for a visa-on-arrival.
Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Cape Town and the embassy in
Pretoria have advised travellers bound for Indonesia that they now require a
health certificate from their local health practitioner to confirm they are not
infected with the Ebola virus as part of the visa requirement process.
South Africa is located thousands of miles from the
Ebola infected West African countries and poses no threat to tourism in South
Africa. This was pointed out
by SA Communications Minister Faith
Muthambi who on Tuesday said South Africa remained the destination of choice for
cases of the Ebola virus have been reported in the country, and government is
confident of the systems and protocols that are in place to address any
incidence of the virus."
was responding an article in The Times about the Asian cancellations
is unfortunate that the newspaper would choose to report that a handful of
tourists cancelled their trip due to fears, which according to the report are
based on erroneous facts about the virus."
Muthambi said the risk of Ebola being introduced into
South Africa remained low and the tourism industry remained vibrant and
Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has made
it clear that he has no intention of changing South Africa’s new immigration
regulations and has failed to respond to several requests by tourism and airline
organisations to meet with them and discuss their concerns.
TBCSA requested a meeting with the Minister last month, but Gigaba will not set
a date and it is unclear whether the minister has any intention to meet with the
Nicknamed by many as the “Tourism Terminator” in the
general, trade as well as the social media, Gigaba remains unwavering in his
determination to see the regulations implemented as planned at a briefing last
“With regard to Immigration Regulations, I think when
people are finished with complaining, they must comply. Let me be very clear
about this,” said Gigaba. “There is absolutely no way that we are going to
change these regulations.”
think we need to balance; and that is what we are trying to do; to strike a
correct balance because South Africa will never have tourism if we become a
society of mass crimes,” said Gigaba.
Gigaba also questioned whether the regulations would
deter tourists from coming to SA. “The interesting thing … is that the countries
that are sending South Africa more tourists are those that require visas to come
to South Africa and those that have visa exemptions are sending fewer tourists,”
the argument, therefore, is that applying for a visa is a deterrent to tourism,
why is it that countries with visa exemptions are sending fewer tourists than
those where they must apply for visas?”
According to figures provided by Statistics SA, the
country’s largest source markets for 2013 were the UK, the US and Germany – all
Also concerned is the International Air Transport
Association (Iata) which on Tuesday said it would meet with the Ministry of Home
Affairs to discuss concerns relating to some of the new immigration requirements
and their implementation to ensure that these did not lead to “unintended
consequences harmful to air connectivity”.
Questioned at the Iata Aviation Day Africa Conference
held in Sandton on Monday and Tuesday on whether the proposed stringent new
immigration laws would hamper the African aviation industry’s objective of
improving air connectivity, Raphael Kuuchi, vice-president: Africa at Iata,
commented: “Government regulation plays a vital role in air connectivity and it
can either enable greater connectivity, or it can suppress it. Wherever
possible, Iata works with governments to ensure that regulations — often
implemented with good intentions — do not lead to unintended consequences
harmful to air connectivity."
noted that the South African government’s initiative to take up the battle
against child trafficking had to be commended. “However, we have engaged the
Ministry of Home Affairs to discuss concerns relating to some of the new
requirements and their implementation so that we can gain a better understanding
of South Africa’s Government’s plans to communicate, implement and enforce the
new requirements,” Kuuchi said.
With Die Burger, The Times,
Business Day, SABC News, SA News, News24, Tourism Update, Travel Buyer and
Another Ebola problem: Finding its natural source
Learn everything you need to know about the infectious disease Ebola with this title.
Washington - A scary
problem lurks beyond the frenzied efforts to keep people from spreading
Ebola: No one knows exactly where the virus comes from or how to stop it
from seeding new outbreaks.
Ebola has caused two dozen outbreaks
in Africa since it first emerged in 1976. It is coming from somewhere -
probably bats - but experts agree they need to pinpoint its origins in
That has had to wait until they can tame the current
outbreak, which has claimed more than 1 100 lives in four countries -
the worst toll from Ebola in history.
"First and foremost get the
outbreak under control. Once that piece is resolved, then go back and
find what the source is," said Jonathan Towner, a scientist who helped
find the bat source of another Ebola-like disease called Marburg. Towner
works for the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Others say finding Ebola's origins is more than a down-the-road scientific curiosity.
the source would definitely be important," said Dr Richard Wenzel, a
Virginia Commonwealth University scientist who formerly led the
International Society for Infectious Diseases.
some of the biggest wins against infectious diseases have involved not
just limiting person-to-person spread, but also finding and controlling
the sources in nature fueling new cases.
Plague was halted after
the germ was tied to rat-riding fleas. With the respiratory disease
SARS, civet cats played a role. With typhus it was lice, and with bird
flu, live poultry markets. Efforts to control MERS, a virus causing
sporadic outbreaks in the Middle East, include exploring the role of
Eating, handling infected animals
the case of Ebola, health experts think the initial cases in each
outbreak get it from eating or handling infected animals. They think the
virus may come from certain bats, and in parts of Africa, bats are
considered a delicacy.
But bats may not be the whole story or the creature that spread it to humans.
World Health Organisation lists chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest
antelope and porcupines as possibly playing a role. Even pig farms may
amplify infection because of fruit bats on the farms, the WHO says.
not clear what the animal is. It's going to take a lot of testing,"
said Dr Robert Gaynes, an Emory University infectious disease specialist
who worked for the CDC for more than 20 years.
Part of the puzzle
is how long the virus has been in West Africa. Previous outbreaks have
been in the east and central regions of the continent.
outbreak began in rural Guinea, and the first suspected first case was a
2-year-old child who died in Gueckedou prefecture in December,
researchers wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine in April. They
did not speculate on how the child may have become infected.
scientists think the virus has been lurking in the area for years. They
point to the case of a lone scientist who got sick in 1994 after doing
an autopsy on a wild chimpanzee in Ivory Coast and to a recent study
that explored the possibility that past Ebola cases in the region have
Scientists in the United States and Sierra Leone
looked back at hundreds of blood samples that were sent to a testing
laboratory in eastern Sierra Leone from 2006 through 2008. The samples
initially were checked only for Lassa fever, which is common in West
Africa. But when the scientists recently went back and tested for other
infections, they found nearly 9% was Ebola.
One or more types of
Ebola virus have "probably been there in the mix" for some time but for
some reason didn't explode into a widespread epidemic in West Africa
until this year, said Stephen Morse, a Columbia University infectious
Ebola's jump from
animals to people is thought to be rare. Experts say there may be a
large degree of bad luck in becoming infected - in a cave associated
with a Marburg outbreak, Towner found the virus in only 3% of bats he
tested. Even if an animal source is clearly identified and people are
warned, "there is always likely to be an occasional exposure - someone
who drives off the highway, in essence," Morse said.
But with other diseases, control measures have paid off.
2003, when civet cats were tied to SARS, "you could just see the
potential for animal-to-human spread" in live animal markets where they
were sold and butchered for food, and control of those markets in
southern China helped limit the outbreak, said Dr Jeffrey Koplan, an
Emory University professor and former head of the CDC.
"If you can
eliminate the market either by providing substitute protein sources" or
outlawing the sale of that meat, "you can have an impact", Koplan said.
That's tough unless you can provide other food, Towner said.
"It can be a hard sell" to convince people trying to feed families to stay away from something possibly dangerous, he said.
SAMHS ready if Ebola appears
Written by defenceWeb, Friday, 15 August 2014
South African soldiers deployed continentally on peacekeeping and peace support operations need have no fear about Ebola. The SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) has a sophisticated system in place, including a portable isolation capability, to deal with the highly contagious disease.
Additionally, according to SA National Defence Force (SANDF) director: corporate communications, Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga, all three the country’s military hospitals, especially I Military in Thaba Tshwane, are geared “to received and isolate any suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola Viral Disease (EVD)”.
He said SAMHS in collaboration with the National Department of Health and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases is continuously monitoring the EVD outbreak in West Africa.
“A contingency plan is in place to manage any outbreak of EVD in South Africa as well as in mission areas where the SANDF is deployed,” he said.
The portable isolation capability - a negative pressure room isolating system – is rated “highly sophisticated” he said.
“A formal training programme for isolating serious risk patients has been running for several years and SAMHS has a large group of trained healthcare professionals to implement high-level isolation.
“A strategic stockpile of protective clothing has been released from the SAMHS Depot and was distributed by SAMHS to all government hospitals identified by the Minister of Health in the country, military hospitals and to mission areas.
“A screening process, in line with the process implemented at International airports in South Africa, has also been implemented at AFB Waterkloof and AFB Bloemspruit for international flights returning from external deployments.
“In collaboration with the private sector, healthcare information on diagnosing EVD has been distributed within the SANDF. Sickbays managing members returning from external deployments have been cautioned to be alert to possible EVD cases,” Mabanga said adding there was “close co-operation” between government, private and military health sectors to manage an EVD outbreak either in South Africa or continental mission areas where the SANDF is deployed.
“The Office of the Surgeon General, Lieutenant General Aubrey Sedibe, has also compiled and issued an internal information bulletin on EVD. This is distributed on all internal SANDF communication platforms,” Mabanga said.
National carrier, SAA, will continue flights to West African destinations, an airline spokesman said earlier this week.
The decision is in line with the position adopted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and IATA (International air Transport Association).
SAA has stepped up measures to protect passengers, air crew and ground staff.
These include checking for passengers who show specific symptoms associated with EVD, isolating them and having tests done by health authorities.
Aircraft are also equipped with protective gear and biohazard waste disposal kits.
“SAA flies to five destinations in West Africa, Abidjan in Ivory Coast; Accra in Ghana; Cotonou, Benin; Dakar, Senegal and Lagos in Nigeria. There is no travel ban to any of these destinations as a result of the outbreak of the virus in that region.
“The airline remains committed to ensuring the enforcement of international health protocols associated with air transport.
“SAA will remain in communication with local health authorities and monitor the situation on a continuous basis. This will enable the airline to constantly do risk assessment and review its decisions should there be developments that warrant such a review.
“SAA would like to urge everyone travelling to the West African region to take the necessary precaution and be vigilant,” SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said. WHO allays fears about air travel
- The United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO) has allayed fears amid
reports that airlines are suspending flights over the Ebola outbreak, by sending
out social media messages with assurances that “unlike infections like influenza
and tuberculosis, Ebola is not airborne”.
chance of having someone who is sick with Ebola getting in a plane is small,”
WHO tweeted on Thursday. “Usually when someone is sick with Ebola, they are so
unwell that they can't travel.”
agency, which also had a press conference providing "clarifications" on air
travel, has declared the current outbreak in West Africa a public health
emergency of international concern.
Secretary-GeneralBan Ki-moon has appointed Dr. David Nabarro as Senior United
Nations System Coordinator for Ebola, in support of the work done by WHO
Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan and her team.
to the latest WHO update, between 10 and 11 August, 128 new cases of Ebola virus
disease, as well as 56 deaths, were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and
Sierra Leone, bringing the total number of cases to 1 975 and deaths to 1
agency said in the update that contact tracing in Guinea, Nigeria, and Sierra
Leone has resulted in a range between 94 percent and 98 percent of contacts of
Ebola cases being identified and followed-up, but in Liberia, efforts are
underway to strengthen contact tracing, but help is needed in this
said it was disappointed when airlines stop flying to West Africa. It is “hard
to save lives if we and other health workers cannot get in,” the health agency
tweeted following a press conference.
countries, international airlines are putting systems in place to screen
passengers for possible infection. Countries with big airports with high volumes
of travellers are not the same as countries with land borders with
Ebola-affected countries,” WHO said.
has repeatedly said the Ebola virus is highly contagious – but not airborne.
Transmission requires close contact with the bodily fluids of an infected
person, as can occur during health-care procedures, home care, or traditional
burial practices, which involve the close contact of family members and friends
incubation period ranges from 2 to 21 days, but patients become contagious only
after the onset of symptoms. As symptoms worsen, the ability to transmit the
a result, patients are usually most likely to infect others at a severe stage of
the disease, when they are visibly, and physically, too ill to
highest Ebola virus level is found in a dead body, according to WHO, hence,
currently the highest risk of Ebola transmission is during burial
continues to fly to West Africa
on Thursday, South African Airways (SAA) said they would continue operating in
airline said the Emergency Committee of WHO on the Ebola outbreak held a meeting
in Geneva from 6 - 7 August. The meeting, said SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali,
concluded that there “should be no general ban on international travel or trade”
to that region.
noted the announcement by WHO, SAA has stepped up measures aimed at protecting
its passengers, crew and ground staff,” said Tlali.
flies to five destinations in West Africa, namely Abidjan (Ivory Coast); Accra
(Ghana); Cotonou (Benin); Dakar (Senegal) and Lagos
is no travel ban to any of these destinations as a result of the outbreak of the
virus in that region. The airline remains committed to ensuring the enforcement
of international health protocols associated with air transport,” said
measures include ensuring that the airline has in place vigilant staff that will
be on the lookout for passengers who bear specific and visible symptoms
associated with the Ebola virus. SAA staff is adequately trained to manage
incidents of this nature, should a need to do so arise.
cases where a passenger may bear visible symptoms associated with the infection
at check-in, such passengers will be isolated from the others. This will be
followed with passenger interviews and tests conducted by the health authorities
in order to determine the possible cause of the symptoms.
the event that there is any doubt regarding the medical condition of any
suspected passenger, SAA may elect to deny such passenger/s to board its
cases where passengers develop symptoms after the aircraft has commenced its
flight, the crew on board will initiate specific procedures that include
isolating such passengers from others on board the aircraft,” said
will eliminate possible physical interaction of affected passengers with other
of SAA’s aircraft has been equipped with special protective gear for crew on
board to wear and to enable them to respond to any passengers suspected of
having been infected, or displaying the listed symptoms that include sweating,
nose bleeding or vomiting.
is also a special biohazard waste disposal kit intended for the safe disposal of
will remain in communication with its local health authorities and will monitor
the situation on a continuous basis. This will enable the airline to constantly
do risk assessment and review its decisions, should there be developments that
warrant such a review.
would like to urge everyone travelling to the West African region to take the
necessary precaution and be vigilant,” said Tlali.
sign of Ebola in SA
on Thursday, South Africa’s Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi dismissed claims
that the Ebola Virus Disease had arrived in South Africa.
after the Democratic Alliance’s Jack Bloem caused a public panic with claims
that a lady, from Guinea, who went into labour at the Rahima Moosa Hospital,
west of Johannesburg, had contracted the disease.
Minister said the lady tested negative for the disease and there is still no
sign of the disease in the country.
did not even have symptoms…” he said.
did the PCR on the lady and she is negative -- that’s the normal test that the
National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) does for Ebola. We still
took precautions… we did the serology, although it was not necessary, and it was
also negative,” said Minister Motsoaledi on Thursday.
test, called DoD EZ1 Real-time RT-PCR Assay, is designed for use on individuals
who have symptoms of Ebola infection, who are at risk for exposure or who may
have been exposed.
added that no one should panic because there was no reason to. –
Ebola-hit S/Leone sanitizes transport sector
The government in Ebola-hit Sierra Leone has launched a spirited campaign to prevent more people from contracting the deadly virus while using the country’s overcrowded public transport system.
The local press on Wednesday quoted a statement by the Ministry of Transport as prohibiting overloading, which is a common feature of commercial transport vehicles plying routes from the capital Freetown to other parts of the country.
‘Operation No Overloading, No Standing’ launched earlier this week has henceforth prohibited taking passengers in excess of the stipulated number.
Under the new measure no passenger will be allowed to stand in public buses.
However, there are fears that privately owned commercial vehicles will not observe the new regulations and the ministry said it is pinning its hope on the commercial drivers union to enforce them for the good of all.
The ministry said this was necessary given that the deadly virus is transmitted by physical contact, with the number of infected cases caused largely by infected persons fleeing to uninfected parts of the country in their desperate bid to escape isolation.
Transport Minister Leoneard Balogun Koroma described public transport vehicles as vectors of the virus and warned that overloading exposes passengers to the chance of infection.
The Sierra Leone Transport Corporation which operates the government owned public transport recently fumigated all its buses.
Out of 730 confirmed cases of the highly contagious Ebola virus, 315 deaths have been registered as Sierra Leone becomes one of the epicenters of the disease.
The others are Liberia with 599 cases and 323 deaths, Guinea with 506 cases and 373 deaths and Nigeria with a recorded 13 cases and three deaths.
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Ebola false alarm
SCARE: Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, flanked by Prof Janusz Paweska of the Centre of Emerging Zoonotic Diseases and Gauteng MEC for Health Qedani Mahlangu, addresses an emergency briefing
Image by: MOELETSI MABE
South Africa's readiness to deal with Ebola was put to the test this week when a pregnant woman from Guinea arrived at a Johannesburg hospital with a fever.
Even though a high temperature is a symptom of many diseases and can occur during labour, doctors reacted cautiously and isolated her at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital.
"This was done as a precaution," Motsoaledi said, because of her country of origin.
But Motsoaledi said the woman should not have been tested as she had no contact with people with the disease.
"Anyone trained in health will know that pregnant women in labour can develop a fever," he said. "Nothing about the case even suggested it was a suspected case of Ebola."
The health department was forced to publicly respond to the case after the DA's Jack Bloom created a scare when he released a statement about a "suspected case" of Ebola in the country.
The country has identified 11 academic hospitals with existing isolation facilities to be used in the event of an Ebola outbreak.
Motsoaledi said Gauteng's Steve Biko and Charlotte Maxeke academic hospitals each had 100 health workers on standby to deal with an Ebola outbreak.
At other hospitals there were 50 health workers on standby.
Ebola has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation but it had not issued a travel ban. The SA Medical Association Trade Union president Phophi Ramathuba called on people to stop spreading rumours about Ebola cases in the country.
She said "rumours were causing panic and confusion".
Ebola kills up to 90% of those infected with it but a higher survival rate is possible if one is treated early. There is no cure.
The countries at the centre of the outbreak, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have declared the disease an emergency. More than 1000 people have died.
Guinea says its outbreak is under control, with the numbers of new cases falling.
But new measures are needed to prevent further infection from the countries. Health services in the worst-affected countries are stretched to breaking point, and the mistrust of health workers among some rural communities means authorities are battling to control the disease.
Yesterday Nigeria also declared the disease a national emergency after an 11th person died from the illness.
SAPA 13.8.2014 09.08 pm