As you may know, PlanetSave posts important health stories as well as the popular science, nature, and climate reports we’re usually known for. (In fact, we’re working toward 500 health posts over these few years!)
Today we excerpt from Examiner.com some news that follows up our Ebola story and exclusive interview with public health expert Vince Silenzio three weeks ago. Next week, we’ll have more from mission staff and a volunteer health worker on the ground in West Africa.
West African Ebola Strikes Today In Senegal
(from Examiner.com, Friday, August 29, 2014)
A Conakry University student from Guinea, lost to Ebola trackers three weeks ago, admitted himself to the Fann Hospital in Dakar, Senegal, on Tuesday. The nation’s Health Minister Awa Marie Coll Seck said that he was immediately quarantined and tested for the virus on hearing from the epidemiological surveillance team in Guinea. His condition is said to be stable.
Senegal closed its border with Guinea last week, so it’s unclear how the student entered the country. The case is significant because Senegal has become the fifth African nation with a case or cases of the disease, which leads to death in a bit over half of its sufferers. It’s also especially unnerving because Dakar is the most populous city in the country, its capital, and a major transportation hub for the entire region as well as for trans-Atlantic and European shipping trade.
The article goes on with some background on recent history of the disease situation:
So far, the hemorrhagic fever has hit Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria, with the most infections in Guinea and Sierra Leone. The borders in these countries have mostly been closed. Health precautions are also in place at entry pointentry points of Kenya, South Africa, and other nations. There have been over 3,000 reported cases of the disease, with over 1,500 deaths. Almost half the cases (40%) have occurred in the past three weeks. About 10% have been health workers.
Finally, some urgent messages from the World Health Organization, which is handling global surveillance of Ebola:
The World Health Organization announced yesterday that the West African outbreak, already the largest ever recorded, may infect 20,000 people within the next six months, the earliest time we can expect it might be contained. A cluster of cases reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo this week appear to be unrelated to this strain of the disease.
Today, WHO cautioned countries not to panic and take draconian and medieval nationwide actions that might compromise the medical response to Ebola–measures like closing borders and entry points or banning flights. WHO tweeted that such overreactions stigmatize the affected countries and hamper transportation of supplies and personnel vital to combatting existing cases of the virus.