July 30, 2021

Ebola: What is the Caribbean doing? – Three reports & WHO focuses on preventing regional spread

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the-ebola-virusCaribbean Island St. Lucia bans entry of travellers from Ebola-stricken countries

By Erika Villanueva From China Topix

Officials from the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean have ordered a travel ban for people coming from Ebola-hit West African nations as the Ebola outbreak expands its reach to the western hemisphere.

On Wednesday, St. Lucia Prime Minister Kenny Anthony declared the country to be off-limits to people who had recently travelled from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, three of the countries in West Africa most affected by the outbreak.

This is to minimize if not to remove any possibility of a resident in the country to catch the disease.

Travellers from Nigeria are also required to show recent medical records indicating that they do not have Ebola before being allowed to enter the country.

The announcement from the St. Lucian government comes after Colombia had declared expanded travel restrictions to visitors whose visas show recent travel from West Africa.

Considered a tiny and poor nation, St. Lucia avoids any infection of the fatal virus because it has very minimal capacity “to manage any crisis that lands on our doorstep, any crisis of that kind,” Prime Minister Anthony stated.

According to the Prime Minister, a spread of an epidemic of similar magnitude to that of Ebola in West Africa would be more devastating to his country of 200,000 people.

Fear of a pandemic continue to rise as a third Ebola case had been confirmed in the United States, a few days after the first Ebola patient recorded in the nation had died of the disease.

“Leaders agreed that this was the most serious international public health emergency in recent years and that the international community needed to do much more and faster,” U.S. President Barack Obama stated urging the international community to continue providing support to the battle against the outbreak in West Africa.

Additional screening measures have been imposed at airports in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. to impede further expansion of the Ebola outbreak.

IMAGE: The Ebola Virus (Photo : itv.com)

For more on this story go to: http://www.chinatopix.com/articles/16968/20141016/caribbean-island-st-lucia-bans-entry-travellers-ebola-stricken-countries.htm#ixzz3GK3ucza2

Grenada considers suspending travel visas for nationals from Ebola affected countries

From Caribbean360

  1. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Wednesday October 15, 2014, CMC – The Grenada government says it is considering suspending travel visas to nationals from the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, as it moves to prevent any occurrence of the deadly Ebola virus here.

More than 4,500 people have died as a result of the virus for which there is no cure. Most of the deaths are in the three African countries, although people have died in the United States, Spain and Germany.

A government statement issued ahead of a meeting of health ministers from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in St. Vincent on Wednesday, noted that with the mortality rates climbing in the affected countries and the potential of spread becoming more and more eminent, the move to suspend the visa could soon be taken.

“Amidst tougher immigration and border control restrictions currently being employed in some countries and contemplated by others, the Government has decided to adapt this measure in the best interest of safeguarding the Public Health of the country.”

The Keith Mitchell government said that the measure is being discussed against the “background that there is no readily available vaccine to protect ones-self against the disease, no available medicines to treat the condition and the recognition that the introduction of one case of the disease could potentially undermine the health and financial infrastructure of the country.

“At the same time, the Government urges its citizens and other persons living in Grenada to desist from all non-essential travel” the African countries.

The statement said that the government is advising people “ who decide to travel to the affected countries with the intention to return despite this advisory, that they will be subjected to strict screening and other health and safety measures at our ports of entry”.

Digital illustration of Ebola virus in   colour backgroundThe government said it would continue with the assistance of the various stakeholders “to put in place the necessary structures to respond as adequately as possible, to the introduction of the disease into our country.

“The Government will continue to regularly monitor and update citizens on the situation with Ebola throughout the world in order to take appropriate actions,” the statement added.

IMAGE: geographical map of Africa with magnifier and ebola virus

For more on this story go to: http://www.caribbean360.com/news/grenada-considers-suspending-travel-visas-for-nationals-from-ebola-affected-countries#ixzz3GKLncirx

Caribbean healthcare workers must be trained, prepared for potential Ebola cases – PAHO

From Caribbean360

WASHINGTON D.C., United States, Wednesday October 15, 2014, CMC – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) wants healthcare workers throughout the Americas, including the Caribbean, trained in the use of personal protective equipment and early identification of suspected cases of the Ebola virus disease (EVD).

PAHO’s call comes amid confirmation by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of a healthcare worker who became the first case of secondary transmission of Ebola in the United States.

PAHO also reminded countries of the importance of maintaining surveillance and updating their procedures for any potential introduction of the virus.

The healthcare worker confirmed as having Ebola worked at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas, where she had been involved in the treatment of the first Ebola case diagnosed within the United States, who died on October 8.

geographical map of Africa with magnifier and ebola virus“Healthcare workers are at high risk of infection with Ebola unless they take adequate precautions,” PAHO said, noting that in Africa, healthcare workers have been one of the most heavily affected groups, with 416 cases and 233 deaths.

It said the virus is not airborne but is transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people.

PAHO said it is working with its member states in the Americas to ensure preparedness for any possible introduction of Ebola virus disease.

The organization reminded member countries of the need for measures to ensure early detection of potential cases.

These include heightened awareness among both screening personnel at points of entry and healthcare workers on the clinical features of the disease, especially fever, and screening questions about history of travel to Ebola-affected countries or other means of exposure to the disease.

“Healthcare workers especially should be prepared to report suspected cases immediately to the authorities and to implement the necessary protocols,” PAHO urged, reminding countries of the need to strengthen measures for infection prevention and control in their health services, including through training of healthcare workers in the use of personal protective equipment.

IMAGE: Digital illustration of Ebola virus in   colour background

For more on this story go to: http://www.caribbean360.com/news/caribbean-healthcare-workers-must-be-trained-prepared-for-potential-ebola-cases-paho#ixzz3GKU2aFsu


Ebola crisis: WHO focuses on preventing regional spread

_78250921_amber_vinson _78290951_ebola_pledges_v2From BBC

The World Health Organization is to “ramp up” efforts to prevent Ebola spreading beyond the three countries most affected by the deadly virus.

Fifteen African countries are being prioritised, top WHO official Isabelle Nuttall told a Geneva news conference.

They will receive more help in areas including prevention and protection.

US public health officials are being questioned at a congressional hearing on perceived failings in how the US has dealt with cases.


The transmission of the Ebola virus remains intense in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the WHO’s Dr Nuttall said.

There was a “spike” in the Guinean capital, Conakry, said Dr Nuttall, and “intense transmission” in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.

In the Liberian capital, Monrovia, she spoke of “significant underreporting” and problems with data-gathering making it hard to reach firm conclusions. But there was a drop in the number of cases in Lofa district.

Farmers in Sierra Leone have deserted their land during the Ebola outbreak

Overall, cases were doubling every four weeks, said Dr Nuttall, the WHO’s Director of Global Capacities Alerts and Response, and the death toll was expected to go above 4,500 this week.

Countries in the region must be prepared, she said, listing Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Mauritania, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Togo.

She highlighted four nations directly bordering the worst affected area – Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Senegal.

“We will ramp up our support to the countries. We will work with them on a plan. But a plan needs to be changed into action.”

Action will include:


Rapid response teams

   Engaging at community level

   Training in infection prevention and protection

   Having laboratories in place


Earlier, the WHO said the introduction of Ebola in the US and elsewhere was a matter of concern, but a major outbreak was unlikely given the strength of health systems in the West.

In another development, the European Union is to examine whether exit screening at West African airports is effective.

EU health ministers also agreed to try to co-ordinate measures taken at EU airports. Some countries, such as the UK, have introduced screening.

Texas nurse

In the United States, questions are being asked about why two nurses who treated an Ebola patient from Africa have themselves become infected.

Thomas Eric Duncan died at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital after arriving in the US from Liberia.

Nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson both contracted Ebola after treating him.

Both wore face shields, hazardous materials suits and protective footwear as they drew blood and dealt with Mr Duncan’s body fluids and it remains unclear how they were infected, officials say.

Amber Vinson was allowed to take a commercial flight after treating him and officials are trying to the trace the 132 people who flew with her.

In testimony prepared for the congressional hearing, Daniel Varga, the chief clinical officer for the company that runs the hospital, apologises for mistakes made in treating Mr Duncan.

“We did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. We are deeply sorry,” he says.

“A lot is being said about what may or may not have occurred to cause Ms Pham to contract Ebola,” he says.

“She is known as an extremely skilled nurse, and she was using full protective measures under the CDC protocols, so we don’t yet know precisely how or when she was infected.”

Opening the hearing, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Tim Murphy accused the Centers for Disease Control of “changing course” on measures that would have strengthened quarantining.

He also cast doubt on airport screening, saying those with a fever could avoid it.

But in his opening statement, Centers for Disease Control Director Tom Frieden said everything was being done to prevent transmission of Ebola.

“There are no shortcuts. Everyone has to do their part. We are there to support. We are there with world-class expertise to protect Americans.”

New US Ebola control measures

   A “site manager” will supervise how workers at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital put on and take off protective clothing

   Two nurses from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta will offer “enhanced training” in Dallas

   An immediate response team will travel to the site of any future Ebola diagnoses to hit the ground “within hours”

   New guidelines for testing at hospitals throughout the US, with special emphasis on asking questions about travel history


In other developments on Thursday:

Another Spanish healthcare worker, who came into contact with a nurse already infected, is being tested for the virus

   An Air France passenger with a high fever, reportedly from Nigeria, is to be examined in hospital for Ebola symptoms after arriving in Madrid from Paris

   A patient with “Ebola-like” symptoms is being monitored in the US state of Connecticut


How not to catch Ebola:

Avoid direct contact with sick patients as the virus is spread through contaminated body fluids

   Wear goggles to protect eyes

   Clothing and clinical waste should be incinerated and any medical equipment that needs to be kept should be decontaminated

   People who recover from Ebola should abstain from sex or use condoms for three months


Ebola victim in Liberia, 15 Oct The disease has killed about 4,500 people so far, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone

Graphic showing pledges in fight against Ebola

Amber Vinson -undated photo Amber Vinson was not supposed to travel on an aeroplane, health officials said.

For more on this story go to: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29648598


Related story:

Ebola spreads through droplets in the air

From Newsmax

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Sunday that a nurse at a Dallas hospital who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from Ebola last week, was the first person to become infected with the virus on U. S. soil. The nurse reportedly wore a gown, gloves, a mask and a face shield while caring for the Liberian national at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Many, including CDC Director Tom Frieden, are questioning how the nurse became infected despite wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment, which should have shielded her from direct contact with Duncan and his bodily fluids.

Once again, the specter of airborne Ebola is being raised.

No virus that causes disease in humans has ever been known to mutate to change its mode of transmission. This means it is highly unlikely that Ebola has mutated to become airborne. It is, however, droplet-borne — and the distinction between the two is crucial.

Doctors mean something different from the public when they talk about a disease being airborne. To them, it means that the disease-causing germs are so small they can live dry, floating in the air for extended periods, thus capable of traveling from person to person at a distance. When inhaled, airborne germs make their way deep into the lungs.

Chickenpox, measles and tuberculosis are airborne diseases. Droplets of mucus and other secretions from the nose, mouth and respiratory tract transmit other diseases, including influenza and smallpox.

When someone coughs, sneezes or, in the case of Ebola, vomits, he releases a spray of secretions into the air. This makes the infection droplet-borne. Some hospital procedures, like placing a breathing tube down a patient’s air passage to help him breathe, may do the same thing.

Droplet-borne germs can travel in these secretions to infect someone a few feet away, often through the eyes, nose or mouth. This may not seem like an important difference, but it has a big impact on how easily a germ spreads. Airborne diseases are far more transmittable than droplet-borne ones.

Richard Preston‘s remarkable book, “The Hot Zone,” chronicled an Ebola Reston virus outbreak at a primate quarantine facility just outside Washington. The monkeys didn’t have direct contact with each other. CDC and military experts had to consider the possibility that Ebola Reston virus might be airborne. But feces thrown about the room, aerosols used in pressure washing the monkey cages or contaminated gloves used to handle the animals could also have transmitted the virus.

It is important to emphasize that Ebola Reston virus does not cause disease in humans. It also survives longer than Ebola Zaire — the species responsible for the West African epidemic — when aerosolized in the lab. But even Ebola Zaire can remain infectious when aerosolized for at least 90 minutes. What happens in the lab, however, doesn’t always represent the real world.

Since the Reston scare, scientists have learned more about Ebola transmission from other outbreaks.

In 1995, more than 300 people became sick with Ebola in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Disease detectives were unable to determine how 12 of the patients were exposed — again raising questions about the possibility of airborne transmission. But if Ebola could be transmitted through the air, at least some family members of Ebola patients should have gotten sick even without direct contact. That didn’t happen.

Ebola struck again in 2000, this time affecting more than 400 people in Gulu, Uganda. Not all had direct contact with another Ebola patient. Bedding and mattresses seemed to be one source of infection. So did sharing a meal with an Ebola patient — which often meant using fingers to eat from the same plate. Each had in common likely exposure to infected bodily fluids.

In the lab, scientists studied how Ebola virus infects different species and causes disease. In humans and primates, Ebola Zaire spreads from the cells of the immune system to the lymph nodes, blood, liver and spleen. It causes minimal disease in the lungs. But in pigs, Ebola Zaire causes severe lung disease.

Researchers infected pigs with Ebola Zaire and then placed them near but not in direct contact with primates. The primates became infected. Because Ebola Zaire causes severe lung disease in pigs, their respiratory secretions are laden with the virus. With all their snorting and snuffling, pigs are very good at generating aerosols. The infected monkeys, however, didn’t transmit the virus onward.

For Ebola Zaire to become airborne in humans, it would need to cause lung disease significant enough to release lots of virus into respiratory secretions. The virus would then need to survive outside the body, dried and in sunlight for a prolonged time. And it would need to be able to infect another person more than a couple feet away.

There’s no evidence from previous epidemics or laboratory experiments that Ebola Zaire behaves in this way. Although the virus is mutating as the Ebola epidemic continues to grow in West Africa, it has multiple hurdles to overcome in order to become airborne.

As we rule out Ebola being airborne, the droplet-borne risk of Ebola must be addressed. Most important, those on the frontlines — especially nurses and doctors — should be provided with the necessary training and personal protective equipment to ensure that there are no more transmissions within hospitals.

For more on this story go to: http://www.Newsmax.com/US/Ebola-droplets-Africa-air/2014/10/14/id/600727/#ixzz3GGiOmIC6

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