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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
According to the top U.S. health official Dr. Kent Brantly, hero doctor infected with the Ebola Virus, is improving. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the UDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control) was quoted as saying, “It’s encouraging that he seems to be improving – that’s really important – and we’re hoping he’ll continue to improve”. Dr. Frieden went on to say that it was just too soon to predict whether or not Dr. Brantly’s condition would worsen or improve and whether or not he would be able to survive the Ebola virus infection.
Dr. Frieden also said the UDC will be sending fifty staff members to West Africa over the next month to give aid and try to stop the spread of the Ebola Virus and contain the outbreak.
Dr. Brantly’s wife and family want to thank everybody for their support and prayers. They are confident he is getting the best treatment possible. As with treating anyone infected with the Ebola Virus, doctors will try to maintain Dr. Brantly’s blood pressure and support his breathing with a respirator if needed, or provide dialysis if he were to experience kidney failure, as some Ebola sufferers do.
Nancy Writebol, the 59 year old missionary who is the other American infected with the Ebola Virus, will be flown in to the Emory University Hospital later this week. The medical plane transporting the Ebola victims is only equipped for one patient at a time. We will continue to provide you with updates about Dr. Brantly, Nancy Writebol, and any updates on the Ebola Virus outbreak as information becomes available so check back often for breaking news.
There was some speculation as two which American Ebola patient would arrive first in the U.S. for Ebola treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Those speculations were put to rest when news broke yesterday evening that the hero doctor, Kent Brantly, would be arriving first and missionary Nancy Writebol would be transferred later.
Dr. Brantly shocked everyone by being able to walk into the hospital and he is surprisingly in good enough condition to help doctors diagnose and treat his condition. He was even able to take a shower by himself. According to family members, Kent Brantly asked to speak to his wife alone and then they had a call separated from each other by only a glass window. Amber Brantly, Kent’s wife, said she was very optimistic about her husband’s recovery.
We will post more information about how Dr. Brantly is doing as well as new information about the transfer of Nancy Writebol when that information becomes available so be sure to check back here for updates.
Dr. Kent Brantly treated several Ebola Virus patients in Liberia before he discovered he was infected with the virus himself. Dr. Brantly then quarantined himself to protect others. An experimental serum was flown in to treat the virus but there was only enough serum for one person, so Dr. Brantly let the other infected American, Nancy Writebol have it. The latest news out of Liberia is that Dr. brantly has recently taken a slight turn for the worse but both Americans are considered to be in “stable, but grave condition”.
It has been reported that Dr. Brantly received blood from a 14 year old boy who was an Ebola survivor thanks to the are provided by Dr. Brantly. The boy’s family said Dr. Brantly had saved their son’s life and they wanted to do anything they could to help him in his own fight against the Ebola Virus.
According to reports earlier today, only one American at a time will be transported to the Emory University Hospital for treatment. It is currently unknown if that person will be Dr. Brantly or Nancy Writebol. There have been assumptions that the one selected first will depend on how strong they are and their comparative chance at survival. Check back here soon as we will be providing more Ebola Virus news and updates as the breaking news comes in.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to both Dr. Brantly and Nancy Writebol and their families as well as all of the other Ebola victims.
Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia has been preparing a special isolation room for a patient with Ebola Disease who is scheduled to arrive in the next couple days. The Hospital didn’t say if the patient is one of the two US citizens infected with Ebola in Liberia or not.
The hospital said this special isolation unit is separate from other areas of the hospital and it is equipped with special precautionary equipment and has infrastructure to keep people safe from the spread of the virus. There are only four hospitals in the United States with this type of facility for people with infectious diseases. Hospital workers and healthcare providers must take extra precautions and wear protective clothing, bodysuits, gloves, boots, face masks and eye protection.