WHO: Ebola moving faster than control efforts - New York News

WHO: Ebola moving faster than control efforts

Posted: Updated:

By BOUBACAR DIALLO and KRISTA LARSON
Associated Press

CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned as presidents from the affected countries met Friday in Guinea's capital.

Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO's director-general, said the meeting in Conakry "must be a turning point" in the battle against Ebola, which is now sickening people in three African capitals for the first time in history.

"If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socio-economic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries," she said, as the WHO formally launched a $100 million response plan that includes deploying hundreds more health care workers.

Medecins Sans Frontieres, also known as Doctors Without Borders, said the WHO pledge "needs to translate to immediate and effective action." While the group has deployed some 550 health workers, it said it did not have the resources to expand further.

Doctors Without Borders said its teams are overwhelmed with new Ebola patients in Sierra Leone and that the situation in Liberia is now "dire."

"Over the last weeks, there has been a significant surge in the epidemic - the number of cases has increased dramatically in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and the disease has spread to many more villages and towns," the organization said in a statement. "After a lull in new cases in Guinea, there has been a resurgence in infections and deaths in the past week."

At least 729 people have died since cases first emerged in March: 339 in Guinea, 233 in Sierra Leone, 156 in Liberia and one in Nigeria.

Two American health workers in Liberia have been infected, and an American man of Liberian descent died in Nigeria from the disease, health authorities there say.

Plans were underway to bring the two American aid workers — Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly — back to the U.S. A small private jet based in Atlanta has been dispatched to Liberia. Officials said the jet was outfitted with a special, portable tent designed for transporting patients with highly infectious diseases.

While health officials say the virus is transmitted only through direct contact with bodily fluids, many sick patients have refused to go to isolation centers and have infected family members and other caregivers.

The fatality rate has been about 60 percent, and the scenes of patients bleeding from the eyes, mouth and ears has led many relatives to keep their sick family members at home instead. Sierra Leone is now sending teams door-to-door in search of Ebola patients and others who have been exposed to the disease.

Chan emphasized Friday that the general public "is not at high risk of infection," but also said the Ebola virus should not be allowed to circulate widely.

"Constant mutation and adaptation are the survival mechanisms of viruses and other microbes," she said. "We must not give this virus opportunities to deliver more surprises."

Randy Schoepp, chief of diagnostics at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, which is running the only lab in Liberia testing Ebola samples, said: "The virus is getting to large, dense, city areas. We're now getting samples (to test) from all over."

But he said he thinks "we're only seeing a small portion of the cases out there," partly because many drivers are scared to transport vials of blood that may contain Ebola to the lab.

Other countries are taking precautions to prevent the spread of Ebola.

The African Union mission in Somalia canceled a planned troop rotation by Sierra Leonean forces in an effort to prevent Ebola from crossing into the Horn of Africa country, the military said.

Seychelles forfeited an African Cup qualifying game and withdrew from the competition Thursday rather than allow Sierra Leone's soccer team to travel to the Indian Ocean island. And a cyclist from Sierra Leone competed in the Commonwealth Games after testing negative for Ebola.

Nigeria's minister of health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, said Thursday the government has located 10 more people who had primary contact with the man who flew to Lagos, and died there because of Ebola. The government is tracking down the remaining people who had contact with him, he said. As of Friday, 69 people are under surveillance and two are quarantined, Chukwu said.

Meanwhile, families in the United States expect to be reunited as early as this weekend with some of the more than 300 Peace Corps volunteers evacuated from West Africa as a precaution.

"We did really have faith in the Peace Corps that if things would become dangerous they would do what they're now doing," said Mirna Jope of Carmichael, California, whose 25-year-old son called home Thursday after learning he would be leaving Sierra Leone.

A Peace Corps spokeswoman said the organization is working to bring the volunteers home as quickly as possible. The group's medical officers are assessing volunteers before their departure as a precaution. The organization is advising them to monitor their health, including checking their temperature twice daily per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The medical officers will check with returning volunteers and be on call if they experience symptoms or have concerns.

Two workers who have been exposed to the virus still were being monitored.

"The two Peace Corps volunteers who have had contact with an individual who later died of the virus are not symptomatic and are currently isolated and under observation," said spokeswoman Shira Kramer. "When they receive medical clearance for return to the U.S., we will work with them to travel safely back."

___

Larson reported from Dakar, Senegal. Associated Press correspondents Maria Cheng in London, Carla K. Johnson in Chicago, Mike Stobbe in New York and Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Latest health newsMore>>

  • Obama: Ebola outbreak 'spiraling out of control'

    Obama: Ebola outbreak 'spiraling out of control'

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 5:48 AM EDT2014-09-17 09:48:10 GMT
    President Barack Obama says the world is looking to the United States to address the deadly outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. Obama says the U.S. embraces that responsibility.
    President Barack Obama says the world is looking to the United States to address the deadly outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. Obama says the U.S. embraces that responsibility.
  • Georgetown University student dies from meningitis

    Georgetown University student dies from meningitis

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 11:07 PM EDT2014-09-17 03:07:53 GMT
    A Georgetown University student has died from an apparent case of meningitis, according to school officials.
    A Georgetown University student has died from an apparent case of meningitis, according to school officials.
  • Kids' poisonings linked to anti-addiction medicine

    Kids' poisonings linked to anti-addiction medicine

    Monday, September 15 2014 9:31 AM EDT2014-09-15 13:31:20 GMT
    CHICAGO (AP) -- An anti-addiction drug used to fight the nation's heroin and painkiller abuse epidemics poses a threat to young children who accidentally swallow relatives' prescriptions, a federal study says. Some children have died. The study found that the drug, buprenorphine, was the adult prescription medication most commonly implicated in emergency hospitalizations of children aged 6 and younger. For every 100,000 patients prescribed buprenorphine, 200 young children were hospitalized ...
    CHICAGO (AP) -- An anti-addiction drug used to fight the nation's heroin and painkiller abuse epidemics poses a threat to young children who accidentally swallow relatives' prescriptions, a federal study says. Some children have died. The study found that the drug, buprenorphine, was the adult prescription medication most commonly implicated in emergency hospitalizations of children aged 6 and younger. For every 100,000 patients prescribed buprenorphine, 200 young children were hospitalized ...
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Notes with swastikas and 'Uber' found in Brooklyn

    Notes with swastikas and 'Uber' found in Brooklyn

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 10:05 PM EDT2014-09-17 02:05:20 GMT
    The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is working to track down whoever posted dozens of stickers and fliers with swastikas and the word "Uber" in Brooklyn. The stickers and flyers filled with images of hate were placed outside a Jewish boys' school on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. A Shomrim safety patrol spotted the stickers on the sidewalk and in the gutters, police said.
    The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is working to track down whoever posted dozens of stickers and fliers with swastikas and the word "Uber" in Brooklyn. The stickers and flyers filled with images of hate were placed outside a Jewish boys' school on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. A Shomrim safety patrol spotted the stickers on the sidewalk and in the gutters, police said.
  • Bratton: Islamic State group threat expanding

    Bratton: Islamic State group threat expanding

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 8:43 PM EDT2014-09-17 00:43:17 GMT
    New York City has entered a "new era" of potential terror threats as hostilities between the United States and extremists from the Islamic State group intensify, Police Commissioner William Bratton said Tuesday. Bratton told reporters that there is no current information pointing to a specific threat against the city.
    New York City has entered a "new era" of potential terror threats as hostilities between the United States and extremists from the Islamic State group intensify, Police Commissioner William Bratton said Tuesday. Bratton told reporters that there is no current information pointing to a specific threat against the city.
  • High-fiving strangers in NYC

    High-fiving strangers in NYC

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:01 PM EDT2014-09-16 22:01:29 GMT
    Looking for a taxi cab is a common sight in the city. For some people, an outstretched arm is usually the sign for hailing a cab. A few other folks see it as something else.Meet Meir Kalmanson. He sees a hand in the air as an opportunity to lighten up a person's serious or frantic state. Meir decided to high-five his way down Fifth Avenue. The video of his rebellion of social norms has gone viral.
    Looking for a taxi cab is a common sight in the city. For some people, an outstretched arm is usually the sign for hailing a cab. A few other folks see it as something else.Meet Meir Kalmanson. He sees a hand in the air as an opportunity to lighten up a person's serious or frantic state. Meir decided to high-five his way down Fifth Avenue. The video of his rebellion of social norms has gone viral.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices