Has Ebola Arrived in Canada?

Tests are being performed on a patient exhibiting the symptoms of the Ebola Virus in Brampton Civic Hospital in Ontario, Canada.  The patient who’s name and gender have not yet been revealed, was said to have recently traveled to Canada from Nigeria (a country with confirmed Ebola victims).

Dr. Graham Pollett is the interim Chief Medical Officer of Health.  According to Pollett, “Ontario’s health care system is prepared to respond should an individual arrive with symptoms that could suggest a disease, such as Ebola,  To date, there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Ontario and the risk to Ontarians remains very low.”

With international travel it is likely inevitable that Ebola cases like this will continue to pop up all over the world.  The World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday that West Africa’s Ebola Virus epidemic was a global health emergency and could continue spreading for several months.   The current Ebola death toll stands at 932 deaths with over 1700 Ebola Virus infections.

Update On Dr. Kent Brantly & Nancy Writebol

Hero Dr. Kent Brantly is still in an isolation unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia but he gave a statement today to let everyone who where he stands in his fight against the deadly Ebola Virus.  It’s not surprise that Dr. Brantly, being a devout Christian, said that he is in a different location but his focus is still the same – to follow God.

hero Ebola doctor Kent Brantly

Here is Dr. Brantly’s statement in its entirety:

“I am writing this update from my isolation room at Emory University Hospital, where the doctors and nurses are providing the very best care possible. I am growing stronger every day, and I thank God for His mercy as I have wrestled with this terrible disease. I also want to extend my deep and sincere thanks to all of you who have been praying for my recovery as well as for Nancy and for the people of Liberia and West Africa.

“My wife Amber and I, along with our two children, did not move to Liberia for the specific purpose of fighting Ebola. We went to Liberia because we believe God called us to serve Him at ELWA Hospital.

“One thing I have learned is that following God often leads us to unexpected places. When Ebola spread into Liberia, my usual hospital work turned more and more toward treating the increasing number of Ebola patients. I held the hands of countless individuals as this terrible disease took their lives away from them. I witnessed the horror first-hand, and I can still remember every face and name.

“When I started feeling ill on that Wednesday morning, I immediately isolated myself until the test confirmed my diagnosis three days later. When the result was positive, I remember a deep sense of peace that was beyond all understanding. God was reminding me of what He had taught me years ago, that He will give me everything I need to be faithful to Him.

“Now it is two weeks later, and I am in a totally different setting. My focus, however, remains the same – to follow God. As you continue to pray for Nancy and me, yes, please pray for our recovery. More importantly, pray that we would be faithful to God’s call on our lives in these new circumstances.”

Our prayers continue to go out to Dr. Brantly, his loved ones and all those who are victims of this deadly Ebola outbreak.

Here’s an update on Nancy Writebol, the other American Ebola patient being treated at Emory University Hospital.

Ebola victim Nancy Writebol

Apparently Mrs. Writebol’s condition is at least slightly  improving, because her husband told reporters today that his wife was well enough to request a cup of Starbucks coffee.

Ebola Victim Brought To Europe for Treatment

75 year old Priest Miguel Parajes is now the first person infected with the Ebola virus to be taken to Europe for treatment.  Parajes was caring for other Ebola victims in a hospital his humanitarian group runs when it was discovered that he too had been infected with the virus.

Parajes was flown in a special airbus back to Spain along with a nun who was not infected with Ebola.  They landed in Madrid and were escorted by a convoy of medical personnel in protective suits, who took them to a special isolation unit of Madrid’s Carlos III Hospital.  Thirty regular patients were evacuated to clear the area for them.  They are now in quarantine and twelve medical staff members will be alternating three shifts to monitor and care for them.

Other Ebola News and Updates

Yesterday, a man died of Ebola in Saudi Arabia, which marked the first Ebola death outside of West Africa.  With two Americans being treated for Ebola in the United States and now an Ebola patient in Europe concern and fear about the Ebola virus outbreak continues to expand.  In the worst affected regions of West Africa dead Ebola victims have been found in the streets because family members and relatives were too afraid to be near them for fear they would catch the disease.  750 soldiers line the streets in Sierra Leone to enforce Ebola quarantines.  The World Health Organization is having talks and debating whether or not to use untested U.S. drugs on Ebola victims.  So far, President Obama has advised against that, saying it is “too soon”.  Britain’s Cobra emergency committee is meeting to discuss options and Britain has increased the aid they are sending to $5 million Euros.  The current Ebola death toll stands out 932 Ebola deaths and over 1700 Ebola cases.

Ebola Outbreak Declared International Public Health Emergency

The World Health Organization, otherwise known as WHO, has declared the Ebola Virus outbreak an international public health emergency, saying it will take an extraordinary response to stop the Ebola outbreak from continuing to spread.

WHO is calling for the international community to get more involved by sending foreign aid and sending workers on the ground.  Dr. Margaret Chan said, “Countries affected to date simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity on their own,”  WHO is also urging other countries to be more aware and to be on the lookout for potential new Ebola transmissions popping up.  It’s extremely important to identify the symptoms of Ebola and isolate anyone infected with virus.

The impact of the World Health Organization’s declaration remains to be seen.  In the past, a similar declaration about Polio has not proven to have helped slow down the virus.

CDC Issues Level 1 Emergency Response for Ebola Virus Outbreak

The Ebola Virus outbreak has risen to an alarming rate, and now the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has raised their emergency response to Level 1.  The Level 1 Emergency Response is the highest level at the CDC.  The main reason for the status being raised is because of the amount of workers being sent into the countries currently being affected by the Ebola outbreak.

The CDC is now helping the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases with their headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Center specializes in researching and studying Ebola.  So far nearly 250 workers are working on the Ebola response with thirty of them being sent to the affected countries.  More staff members are scheduled to be deployed soon.

With the Ebola virus killing nearly 1000 people so far in West Africa there’s no doubt this outbreak has very serious.  To gauge how serious this is, the CDC has only raised their emergency response to Level 1 twice in the past eleven years before this.  The other two times were Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the H1N1 outbreak of 2009.

Ebola Outbreak State of Emergency Declared By Nigeria

ebola virus state of emergency

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that the Ebola Virus Outbreak’s death toll in West Africa has now surpassed 900 deaths and currently sits at 932.  A nurse in Nigeria died from Ebola marking the second Ebola death in Nigeria.  The first Ebola death in Nigeria was Patrick Sawyer, a 40 year old American of Liberian decent who got sick while traveling to Nigeria on a business trip.  Both Ebola deaths in Nigeria occurred in Lagos, a mega city with a population of over 21 million people.  Because of the crowded population there are great concerns the virus could spread quickly if not contained.  Millions of people in Lagos live in cramped up conditions without plumbing or flushable toilets.  Signs have been posted throughout the city trying to warn people to not urinate in public spaces as that act of emitting bodily fluids could potentially spread the Ebola disease.

Just a couple hours ago, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a state of emergency in Nigeria in a televised address to the nation.  Sirleaf said, “Ignorance and poverty, as well as entrenched religious and cultural practices, continue to exacerbate the spread of the disease”.  Nigerian officials have been moving quickly to obtain isolation tents to quarantine potentially infected people in anticipation of a further outbreak.

Ebola Outbreak Leads to Emergency World Health Organization Meeting

Global health experts are meeting to discuss the Ebola outbreak and whether or not to declare the outbreak a global health emergency.  The World Health Organization, also known as WHO, will be meeting for the next couple of days.

The Ebola Virus has now killed close to nine hundred people in West Africa.  Since the outbreak began in Guinea it has spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.  Nigeria experienced their second Ebola death last Wednesday and there are five reported cases in Nigeria’s largest city.  A man who died in Saudi Arabia last week is suspected to have died from an Ebola infection.  When the results come back, if he in fact died of Ebola, he will be the first Ebola death outside of West Africa.   There have been many people suspected to be infected with Ebola in the U.S. but all so far have turned out to not be Ebola (other than Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who were transported to the U.S. from Liberia for treatment).

With the outbreak possibly spreading beyond West Africa top health experts are revving up conversations about what to do.  Infectious disease experts have called for experimental treatments to be offered more widely, such as the experimental serum given to Dr. Brantly and Nancy Writebol.

Second American Ebola Victim Nancy Writebol Arrives in US

Nancy Writebol, the other American Ebola virus victim, arrived in Atlanta yesterday and was transported to Emory University Hospital by ambulance.  Unlike Dr. Kent Brantly who walked into the hospital on his own accord, Writebol was carried into the hospital on a stretcher by hospital workers wearing biohazard suits and protective gear.  Her condition has been described as weak but improving.

Writebol’s family had been thinking about funeral arrangements a week ago and now they are much more hopeful.  Her son Jeremy said, “We’re grateful to everyone who was joined us in praying for this moment.”  David Writebol, Nancy’s husband said her care in Liberia had been exceptional.  He said watching her care was “like watching the love of Christ take place right before your eyes.”

The family is hopeful not just that Nancy will survive but they are also hopeful that this entire incident will bring attention to West Africa and what is going on there.

Experimental Ebola Treatment Drug Zmapp

zmapp ebola virus treatment

Yesterday, the World Health Organization updated the Ebola Virus Outbreak death toll.  It has now increased to 887 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.  Over 1,600 people have now been infected with the Ebola Virus.

Since Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were sent an experimental Ebola serum in Liberia there has been much speculation as to what the Ebola treatment drug was and where it came from.  Some of that information was finally revealed yesterday.  The drug is made in Owensboro, Kentucky in tobacco plants at Kentucky Bioprocessing, which is a subsidiary of Reynolds American Incorporated.  According to spokesman David Howard, “The plant serves like a photocopier and the drug is extracted from the plant.”  The serum was made by drug maker Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. of San Diego and that’s where its name Zmapp comes from.

The drug had never been tested on humans before, but drastic situations call for drastic measures and the decision was made to send the drug to Dr. Brantly and Nancy Writebol.  The purpose of Zmapp is to boost the immune system’s efforts to ward off Ebola.  Part of the drug is made using antibodies produced by lab animals exposed to parts of the Ebola virus.  Dr. Kent Brantly received one dose of Zmapp and Nancy Writebol received two doses of the serum.

It is unknown at this time is the Zmapp treatment worked as well as everyone had hoped.  The Ebola virus is a tricky disease and victims of Ebola tend to take swings in both directions.  One day they are much better and the next day they could be much worse.

There are no cures or vaccines for the Ebola virus.  In the past, Ebola virus survivors have survived on their own without the aid of special serums.  There is a lot of hope that Zmapp could play a big role in treating Ebola Virus patients in the future and testing on humans is expected to take place in the next several months.

What You Need To Know About The Ebola Virus

all about the ebola virus outbreak

This recent Ebola Virus outbreak in West Africa is the worst Ebola outbreak in history.  Over 4000 people have been infected with the virus and over 3300 of those infected people have died.  The spread of the virus has been so bad in places like Sierra Leone that entire communities have been quarantined to stop the spreading.  Even police and military personnel are present to enforce the quarantine laws so this outbreak won’t continue to get out of hand.

The Ebola Virus is very different from other viruses.  Here are some facts about Ebola to get you up to speed and educate you on everything you need to know about Ebola.

Ebola doesn’t change very often.  Many viruses will change over time, but the Ebola Virus is a known quantity that hasn’t really changed since it was discovered in 1976.

It is highly unlikely that someone could get infected with the Ebola Virus by simply being near someone with the virus.  This virus spreads through bodily fluids, not through the air like some other viruses get transmitted.

The Ebola Virus can stay alive on surfaces for a few days so it is possible you could get it from making physical contact with objects with the virus living on them, such as clothing or bedding.  But just making contact with the virus is not enough to infect you, because it would still need to enter your body somehow.  One example of how you could get it from an inanimate object would be if you ate food that had the virus on it because bodily fluids of an infected person got on the food.

The general consensus is that people infected with Ebola aren’t contagious until they are sick.  So that gives you time to recognize the symptoms.  People infected with Ebola will get fevers, diarrhea, etc. and have symptoms similar to the common cold or the flu.  If you see people with exhibiting these symptoms stay away from them.

People CAN survive ebola.  About 40% of Ebola victims actual survive while around 60% die from the Ebola infection.

There are multiple types of Ebola, but the kind of Ebola that is causing the current outbreak is called Zaire Ebolavirus.  Since this type of Ebola virus was discovered in 1976 only around 30% of people have survived it.  However,  awareness and modern technology have raised those survival rate numbers in recent years.

The main reason the current Ebola Virus outbreak is so bad in West Africa is because the outbreak is taking place in an area of the world where healthcare is very poor.  In fact, the primary countries involved in this Ebola outbreak are Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.  To make matters worse, there has never been an Ebola outbreak in that part of the world before so people were totally unaware of it and didn’t know how to treat it or stop the spreading.

Even though there is now an Ebola virus patient in the US with another on the way (Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol), there is really no reason for alarm.  The U.S. is very aware of Ebola and is equipped to educate people about the virus as well as prevent the virus from spreading.