A man has been quarantined aboard a Carnival Cruise ship in the Caribbean. Apparently, a Texas hospital lab supervisor who may or may not have handled some fluid samples from Thomas Eric Duncan, (a man who died from Ebola), was vacationing aboard a Carnival Cruise ship and officials decided to quarantine him. The man did not have direct contact with Duncan and he has not shown any symptoms of Ebola.
The quarantine measure is probably in response to public outrage that authorities haven’t been handling the Ebola issues properly. Two nurses who cared for Duncan now have Ebola and one of them flew aboard a commercial jet to Cleveland. Officials are now trying to take more proactive measures to make sure the deadly Ebola virus doesn’t continue to spread. I can’t think of a much worse place to spread Ebola than on airplanes and cruise ships.
Is Obama seriously going to appoint one of his political cronies as “Ebola Czar” instead of a more qualified candidate? It sure looks that way. According to Fox News, President Obama plans to appoint Ron Klain as the new Ebola Czar. Klain has no apparent medical background or health care background to speak of. But he did serve as Chief of Staff to Al Gore and Joe Biden.
If these reports are true and Obama names Klain Ebola Czar that means he will be passing up Dr. Nicole Lurie for the position. She has served as an assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human services for the past five years.
Several schools in Ohio and Texas shut down and canceled classes in response to the fear of Ebola. Some people think it was a good decision to play it safe, while others are calling it a complete overreaction.
The reason for the alarm was because some staff members and students possibly came into contact with a person infected with Ebola. An email sent to parents said the schools would be closed after they learned that a middle school staff member may have traveled aboard the same airplane, though not on the same flight, as Dallas nurse Amber Joy Vinson.
Since it wasn’t even the same flight a lot of people are calling the decision to close the schools “overkill” while others are saying it’s a great pro-active decision and it’s “better safe than sorry”.
In a statement on Sunday, the Texas Department of State Health Services said that a health care worker at a Dallas hospital tested positive for Ebola. They haven’t identified the name of the health care worker yet, but it is someone who provided care for Thomas Eric Duncan, who was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. Duncan died from Ebola last week.
A statement posted on the Texas Department of State Health Service’s website said “confirmatory testing will be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.”
What is so puzzling and so alarming about this Ebola case is that the health care worker wore protective gear when they provided care to Duncan during his second visit to the hospital. The media is in a frenzy and people are scared about the potential spread of Ebola.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the Dallas Fire Department’s rescue hazmat team has decontaminated any open areas of the health care worker’s apartment complex.
According to the mayor, “Police are standing by to make sure no one enters that apartment complex”.
The current Ebola death toll stands at 3,338 Ebola related deaths.
Since the first case of Ebola was confirmed in the United States Americans have been in a frenzy to find out as much information about Ebola as possible. People are wondering why the Dallas Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, was allowed to enter the United States. Well, according to Liberian officials, it’s because he lied on his exiting documents. He said he had not come into contact with anyone with Ebola.
Whether the Dallas Ebola patient lied or not is still in question. Apparently, he helped a pregnant women get into a taxi and it turned out that she was an Ebola victim. He probably did not know she had Ebola. Regardless, Liberian officials are planning to prosecute the man when he returns to his homeland. Liberian Airport Authority Chairman Binyah Kesselly told reporters, “He will be prosecuted.” He continued to say that people like Thomas Eric Duncan and Patrick Sawyer have brought a stigma upon Liberians who live abroad.
In other Ebola news, a man thought to have died from Ebola woke up after the burial team had wrapped him up for burial. According to angry people in the area, they don’t send help for Ebola victims until they die. They said the man had waited for weeks to get help and then when it appeared he had died the burial team showed up within an hour. Then nearly lifeless man moved his arm and once they realized he was alive they took him in for help. The previously angry mob cheered for the man for finally getting help.
It was reported today that there have been at least 1229 Ebola deaths with over 2200 Ebola infections and hundreds more possible Ebola infections.
Here are a few Ebola outbreak updates for you:
In Liberia, the suspected Ebola virus patients (who were likely to have the Ebola Virus) who fled a quarantined Ebola treatment center have turned themselves in to a hospital. The patients fled the Ebola clinic when it was ransacked by armed men who looted the place a few days ago. There was great fear that with the “escaped” Ebola patients wondering around and with the looted items from the clinic being spread around, that the Ebola virus could spread throughout one of the largest slums in the area.
The Ebola situation has gotten so bad in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone that entire villages have been quarantined. Because of that, many people are starving and don’t have the basics for survival. The U.N. World Food Program is said to be preparing to deliver food for one million people in the affected areas to provide aid and relief. The spokeswoman for the World Health Organization said she thinks the world is now using high vigilance in all countries. She said, “I can’t remember the last time we fed 1 million people in a quarantine situation.”
In Liberia, armed men attacked an Ebola quarantine center, freed the Ebola patients there, and looted everything they could find at the clinic. The looted items even included bloody sheets and mattresses highly likely to contain the contagious and deadly Ebola virus.
This incident creates the perfect storm for a huge Ebola virus outbreak in the region. You have the combination of confirmed Ebola patients who have fled the clinic, and you have infected items that were looted being passed around. On top of that, this all happened near the capital’s largest slum.
30 Ebola patients were staying at the clinic before the attack. Many of them fled while the clinic was under siege. Officials are trying to round them up and then transfer them to the Ebola center at Monrovia’s largest hospital.
Liberian officials had considered putting the entire West Point under quarantine but as of right now that is not going to be the decision. There are over 50,000 residents in West Point.
Here are the latest updates on the Ebola Virus Outbreak:
- In efforts to slow the spread of the Ebola Virus, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia have decided to implement ancient medieval tactics to cordon off highly affected areas. This measure is something that was used long ago to fight the Bubonic Plague. Cross border isolation zones have been set up and they are being patrolled by armed guards. Much needed medical supplies and food will be coming to the sanitary barriers but nobody will be permitted to leave the isolation zones. Hadja Saran Darab, the Secretary General of the Mano River Union, had this to say about the new measures being implemented, “We have agreed to take important and extraordinary actions at the inter-country level to focus on cross-border regions that have more than 70 percent of the epidemic.” Although this may be effective, it still leaves 30 percent on opposite side of the barrier and it may prove difficult to keep people from leaving, especially if they feel they aren’t receiving what they need inside the barrier.
- The current death toll from the Ebola Virus outbreak now stands at 1069 Ebola deaths.
- The last remaining does of the experimental Ebola treatment serum Zmapp arrived in Liberia yesterday. They were carried personally by Augustine Ngafuan and they will be given to two sick African doctors. The company who makes Zmapp has said their supplies are now exhausted and it will take multiple months to produce even small amounts of the serum.
- A Canadian company has pledged to donate up to one thousand does of their untested Ebola vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO). However, it is unknown how scientists can even determine if the vaccine works and there are lots of questions being asked about who will receive the vaccines.
- A third person in Nigeria has now died from Ebola. He had been quarantined after he came in contact with the Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer who died from Ebola a month ago.
With the Ebola Virus outbreak’s death toll now exceeding 1000 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) has finally approved the use of experimental Ebola serums to treat the virus. The U.S. company that makes ZMapp, the experimental Ebola medicine that was used on Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol, said they have now sent all of their available supplies to the hardest hit areas of West Africa.
After meeting with several Ebola and infectious disease experts, Marie-Paule Kieny, the World Health Organization’s assistant director general, told reporters, “In the special circumstances of this Ebola outbreak it is ethical to offer unregistered interventions as potential treatments or prevention.”
Leading up to these discussions, there had been an international outcry, basically saying that it was unfair that the only people who had been given the experimental serum were white. Many took to Twitter to voice their complaints and demand that blacks also receive the drug.
It is unknown whether or not Zmapp helped the two American Ebola patients who received doses of the experimental serum. There were positive indications that it did help them recover, but elderly Spanish priest Miguel Pajares, who became infected while helping patients in Liberia, was also treated with Zmapp and he died anyway. It remains to be seen how effective this drug will be, and there are other untested experimental drugs in the works that could soon be used on Ebola victims.
Here’s a quick Ebola virus outbreak update with news from Liberia.
Residents in Liberia are outraged at the government’s delays in picking up dead bodies of Ebola victims on the roadsides. An angry crowd of Liberians blocked the country’s busiest roadway in protest. Tensions continue to mount as there have been nearly 300 Ebola Virus deaths in Liberia and there are great concerns of further contamination. In Guinea, officials have made the decision to close its land borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone. Liberia’s government has ordered that all Ebola victims be cremated since there is so much opposition to normal burials for fear of further contamination. Over forty health workers in Liberia have become infected by Ebola. The Doctors Without Borders charity group working in Liberia has described the conditions as “catastrophic.”
Drastic times call for drastic measures and to slow down the spread of Ebola Liberia has launched “Operation White Shield” where soldiers are deployed in different locations outside the capital to discourage residents’ movements. This is a part of Sirleaf’s emergency measures to better fight the disease and slow down its spread. Health workers are stationed next to soldiers at each checkpoint to take the temperature of every commuter. Anyone who has a temperature above the normal range will be prevented from leaving.