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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:15 pm 
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Mistrust And Confusion Swirl Around Ebola Reports In One Liberian Neighborhood
A crowd in a slum in the capital of Liberia attacked an Ebola holding facility Saturday. As the government tries to save face, the residents try to separate truth from fiction.
posted on Aug. 18, 2014, at 5:00 p.m.
Jina Moore
BuzzFeed Staff
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John Moore / Getty Images

MONROVIA, Liberia — Forty men argue, spilling in a loose formation into the only road the runs through West Point, an informal neighborhood in the Liberian capital. They’d seem angry if you didn’t know that arguing loudly and emphatically is typical here, a way of showing you know and care about what you are saying.
The trouble here was that no one seemed to agree on who knew what. Were there 30, 40, or 50 Ebola patients in that clinic people attacked just down the road on Saturday? Was it 50 patients, or 50 dead?
“There were 35, 35!” one man hollered.
“No, no, it isn’t. There were 17. Just 17!” said another. (He was right.)
“So, then they are lying on us,” a third concluded.
“They” is the Liberian government, which has been trying to manage the message of what happened here after a crowd of several hundred people descended on a newly-opened clinic, shouting “No Ebola in West Point!” The crowd — decrying the illness as a “hoax” — looted everything in the makeshift clinic, according to witnesses including the clinic director, and pushed the patients out.
The attack has galvanized international attention, captivated local talking heads, and added a layer of political game-playing to what was already a difficult public health problem.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, the clinic’s director, Sam Tarplah told BuzzFeed by phone that he didn’t know where the patients had gone; in fact, he’d barely escaped himself, he said, as the group attacked his car.
Another source working on Ebola response in Liberia confirmed that the patients had left and that most are still missing.
But government officials have insisted that the patients were transferred to an unnamed Ebola treatment facility. At the time of the attack on Saturday, there were no open spaces in Liberia’s lone, 33-bed Ebola isolation ward. (On Sunday, a new facility, managed by Doctors Without Borders, admitted its first patients — nine confirmed cases transferred from the aforementioned isolation ward and 3 suspected cases, brought from among those with likely symptoms who waited under trees hoping for a bed.)
The holding center in West Point was, briefly, a place where suspected patients could wait, without putting their families at risk, until a lab test could confirm their status. The idea was to transfer positive patients to treatment facilities, but sources say the holding center didn’t stay open long enough to get anyone’s results.
One thing most sources seem to agree on is that some of the patients were not from West Point — and that angered the residents there.
“We don’t want people from outside,” several men gathered near the clinic’s entrance told BuzzFeed on Monday afternoon. Most of the 20-person crowd seemed convinced that there is no Ebola in West Point, even though public health officials have identified it as an emerging hot spot. If the clinic brings the virus to West Point, by bringing in outsiders who have it, then the clinic has to go, they said.
“The government made a mistake. The township made a mistake,” said a man in his mid-thirties. He refused to give his name because he said he works with the local government and his critical views could threaten his work.
The mistake was bigger than simply opening the holding center to people from other neighborhoods. “How can you bring in a health team, and then you bring in the army?” he said, referring to troops who had been reportedly sighted on Saturday morning. “What’s next?”
The assistant minister of health on Thursday told BuzzFeed that the government was planning to quarantine the area, an operation that would require intense security and preparatory surveillance.
Health workers and government officials commonly reference people’s denial of Ebola as a major challenge in controlling the spread of the disease. But no one in the crowd BuzzFeed found on Monday could be called an outright denialist. Their grievances were more nuanced.
“People saying people dying here from Ebola. That’s not true. They die from here, but we don’t have as fact that people die of Ebola. No confirmation,” said Thomas Johnson, 36, a day-laborer.
“I believe Ebola is in the country, but not in this community,” said Joseph Weah, a 35-year-old fisherman. “I see Ebola patients, but on television. I never see them here.”
Of course, that’s a matter of perspective. On Thursday, four men at a shop in West Point told BuzzFeed that seven people had died nearby in the last two days, five of them in a single house.
And Francis Fayiah, 61, said his brother had died of Ebola on July 28. Fayiah knew it was Ebola because his brother had blood running unstoppably from the nose. He lived with his wife, who was 36; she died a week later, and friends and neighbors were too afraid of the virus to bring her food or water.
But mistrust about Ebola isn’t about disease; it’s about something much deeper. There’s the civil war, of course, which is actually multiple, long bursts of violence and betrayal by various leaders, between 1989 and 2003.
Then there’s the simple business of having, or not having, what you need. West Point has never gotten a fair shake of much of anything: Unemployment is high, and so is crime. People live six or seven to a single-room metal shack; there is no running water. There are no toilets. The list of grievances is long. And though Liberia is officially a poor country, it is rich in natural resources — rubber, timber, and oil bring big international business.
“One of the things about the government in our country is that it doesn’t treat us right,” said the unnamed local government worker. “The resources in this country are more than the people. What are Liberians getting from those resources? Nothing. We’re getting nothing at all.”
Solomon Johnson, a 42-year-old construction worker, said he wasn’t against a holding center. But he wanted it to be a proper health facility — the West Point center was originally a school, repurposed because schools are now closed during Liberia’s Ebola-driven state of emergency — and it he wanted it put somewhere else.
For good reason, he insisted. “From the sea to the river, we’re in the center here,” he said, referring to the peninsula where the neighborhood sits. “We’re too congested. And that can spread the virus.”
Everyone in the crowd agreed that the the major issue leading to Saturday’s attack was miscommunication: They would have preferred to be prepared in advance.
“If you bring such a thing, people should be aware. You need to call people’s attention,”
Weah said.
Those are words of advice also meant for another, possibly more precarious plan: Quarantine. Rumors had run through West Point all weekend that the government was going to quarantine the peninsula on Monday morning. (The Ministry of Health told BuzzFeed on Thursday it plans to quarantine “soon.”) And that has some residents terrified — even more terrified than they are of Ebola.
“If that happens, people will die,” Johnson said. “You stop them from going to the market? They won’t find food to eat.”
Jackson Weir III, 30, was resigned to the possibility of quarantine. “If you can close the hospitals and clinics, you have killed us already,” he said. “What difference does it make if you lock the front door?”
Meanwhile, the police have shut their only post in West Point out of concern for officers’ safety, a police spokesman announced on a popular Monrovia radio program today.
And government officials said on Monday afternoon radio programs that they were planning to re-open the holding center at its original site at 5:30 p.m., even though there were no police to secure the facility.
The hour came and went, and nothing happened.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:42 pm 
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Ebola threat grows for Liberia's capital city
Filed Under: Ebola
Lisa Schnirring | Staff Writer | CIDRAP News | Aug 18, 2014

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MickyWiswedel / iStock

West Point, Monrovia's largest slum, was the setting of choas and looting at an Ebola treatment center that scattered patients and could fuel new cases.

With no end in sight to the escalation of the Ebola outbreak in the hardest hit countries, residents on Aug 16 attacked and looted a treatment center in the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia's capital, scattering patients thought to be infected with the disease and with contaminated items carried off into the community.

Eruption of violence in Liberia is the latest in a string of clashes in West Africa's health settings that have been fueled by misconceptions about Ebola virus disease (EVD) and suspicions about the actions of government officials and health workers.

New threats for hard-hit capital city
The incident occurred in West Point, Monrovia's largest slum, the Associated Press (AP) reported. An official from the country's health ministry told the AP that residents were angry about patients being brought to the holding center from other parts of the city.

Many of the 30 or so patients at the holding center when the clash occurred were thought to have fled into the community, and health officials said they will be located and taken to an EVD center at a hospital in Monrovia.

The attackers were young men armed with clubs who chanted that they didn't believe in Ebola and fled with medicines, mattresses, and bedding from the high school that was being used as a temporary treatment center, according to an Aug 17 report from Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Media reports said some of the looted items were soiled. Vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding are among the symptoms of EVD, and the virus is thought to spread through contact with bodily secretions.

West Point township is located on a densely populated peninsula that is home to about 75,000 people.

Groups form travel resource task force
In other developments, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today that to help coordinate the international response regarding travel and tourism issues, several groups have formed a travel and transport task force, with a goal of providing timely information to the travel sector as well as to tourists.

Several airlines have banned flights to some of the outbreak countries, though the WHO has advised against travel and trade restrictions. Also, some countries have closed their borders to travelers from affected areas.

In a press release e-mailed to journalists, the WHO said the groups in the task force include itself as well as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Airports Council International (ACI), International Air Transport Association (IATA), and World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The WHO reiterated that the risk of becoming infected with EVD during air travel is low, because people infected with the virus usually feel too sick to travel until they feel ill. It said the risk remains low, even for people who travel to areas where cases have been reported.

WHO officials have asked affected countries to conduct exit screening of passengers at airports, seaports, and major land crossings for unexplained fever consistent with EVD.

"Any person with an illness consistent with EVD should not be allowed to travel unless the travel is part of an appropriate medical evacuation," the WHO said. "There should be no international travel of Ebola contacts or cases, unless the travel is part of an appropriate medical evacuation."

WHO report fleshes out ethics deliberations
In other WHO developments, the group yesterday released a full report from its ethics panel, which on Aug 12 announced it's opinion that it is ethical to use untried drugs to help curb West Africa's Ebola outbreak.

The full report outlines the scope of the questions the experts were asked to consider. It also described the main points of deliberation in four main areas: exceptional circumstances, essential considerations before use, criteria for prioritization, and further steps.

Committee members will meet again to discuss who should have priority use of the products. Though the full report doesn't set out a priority list, it said many members felt that health workers should be considered for high priority. The group also noted that because of their higher mortality rates, children and pregnant women should be considered particularly vulnerable to EVD and should be given special protection when receiving experimental interventions.

The WHO has urged the public to scale back their expectations about the experimental EVD drugs and vaccines for a host of reasons, including that even if supplies increase, they will be too small to have a significant impact on the outbreak.

See also:

Aug 17 AP story

Aug 17 AFP story

Aug 17 WHO medical treatment ethics report

Aug 12 CIDRAP News story "WHO: It's ethical to use untried drugs in Ebola outbreak

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:44 pm 
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NPR audio on new center on outskirts of Monrovia
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:57 pm 
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Liberia 'losing grip on Ebola' as hunt for patients goes on
Published: 19 Aug 2014 at 07.45 | Viewed: 0 | Comments: 0Online news: WorldWriter: AFP
MONROVIA - Liberia was desperately searching for 17 Ebola patients Monday who fled an attack on a quarantine centre in the capital Monrovia, as the outbreak appeared to overwhelm authorities in west Africa's worst-hit nation.

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People walk under the rain in a street of the West Point district in Monrovia on August 17, 2014

Searches of the teeming West Point slum have so far failed to turn up any of the missing victims as neighbouring Guinea said a wave of sick Liberians had begun crossing the border, which it had officially closed 10 days ago.

Club-wielding youths raided a medical facility set up in a high school in the dense-populated Monrovia slum on Saturday, some shouting "there's no Ebola", echoing wild rumours that the epidemic had been made up by the West.

Officials are considering sealing off the area -- home to 75,000 people -- to stop the nightmare scenario of people with the highly contagious disease wandering the city where unburied corpses have lain abandoned in the streets.

Information Minister Lewis Brown said: "All those hooligans who looted the centre are now probable carriers of the disease.... They took mattresses and bedding that were soaked with fluids from the patients. To quarantine the area could be one of the solutions.

"We run the risk of facing a difficult-to-control situation," he warned.

Community leaders, however, said the patients have long gone.

Wilmont Johnson, head of a youth association in West Point which organised a search for the patients, told journalists Monday that "those who saw them passing told us that they have gone into other communities".

The head of the Health Workers Association of Liberia, George Williams, said of the 29 patients in the raided unit "all had tested positive for Ebola" and were receiving preliminary treatment before being taken to hospital.

Fallah Boima, whose son Michel was among the patients who fled, told AFP: "I am afraid that he could die somewhere and I will not know."

Outside the capital in Caldwell, relatives of the dead criticised the government for the slowness of its response, claiming that bodies were being left uncollected there for days.

Sheikh Idrissa Swaray, the father of one victim, slammed the way the government was handling the crisis as "completely wrong".

He said in one case a man had died and his wife, possibly infected herself, had run away.

"We don’t even know where the wife has gone and the body is still here. Three days now and the body has not been taken."

Liberia already has the highest death toll in the epidemic, which has killed at least 1,145 people across west Africa since the start of the year. Its toll of 413 dead last week overtook that of Sierra Leone and Guinea where the outbreak began, despite a state of emergency being declared.

- Wave of sick Liberians -

Dr Sakoba Keita, who is heading Guinea's fight against the epidemic, told AFP that a wave of sick Liberians were crossing the border in the Macenta district in the south of country, where Ebola had up till now been on the wane.

"We are very worried about this situation of sick people arriving from Liberia. We are having more and more suspected cases in the area," he said.

A Guinean military doctor on his way to the border said: "We are doing everything we can but there is a huge gulf between the rhetoric and the situation on the ground."

Guinea announced 10 days ago that it was closing its borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone, a forested region notoriously hard to police, and it was unclear how the sick patients made it into the country.

- AU, Cameroon closings -

Now Cameroon also has closed all its land, sea and air borders with its neighbour Nigeria, and will restrict travel to other affected countries, a government spokesman told AFP on Monday.

The virus has claimed four lives in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country. So far Cameroon has escaped unscathed.

The new travel bar comes as the World Health Organization said it had set up a task force with global airlines and the tourism industry in an effort to contain the spread.

The outbreak has also led the African Union to cancel its summit scheduled for September 2 in Ouagadougou, although Burkina Faso to date has been unaffected.

There is no known cure for Ebola, a haemorraghic fever which can be spread through bodily fluids including blood and sweat.

The epidemic is the worst since the virus first appeared in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has also claimed 380 lives in Guinea and 348 in Sierra Leone, according to WHO figures released on August 13.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:07 pm 
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Liberia hunts escaped Ebola victims as WHO calls for control
Published: 19 August 2014
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Soldiers from the Liberian army monitor a border checkpoint to control the Ebola outbreak, at an entrance to Bomi County in northwestern Liberia in this August 11, 2014 file photo. – Reuters pic, August 19, 2014.

Liberia struggled on Monday to track down 17 suspected Ebola carriers who fled quarantine at the weekend, while the UN health agency urged affected West African nations to screen all departures in a bid to contain the worst outbreak of the virus.

In the Liberian capital Monrovia, police awaited a consignment of protective equipment before redeploying to West Point – a sprawling ocean-front shantytown – to reopen a quarantine centre attacked by a rock-throwing crowd on Saturday, allowing patients, who had been isolated, to get away.

"We are very, very concerned about the situation," Information Minister Lewis Brown said, adding that 17 patients were still missing from the centre, which was thoroughly looted.



"The police had to stand down because they were concerned not to put their men at risk. They got a supply of protective equipment yesterday and my expectation is that they will redeploy today."
With its healthcare system and government infrastructure struggling to cope, Liberia has been the country hardest-hit by the highly infectious and incurable disease, which has killed 1,145 people in four West African countries.

Officials and healthcare workers met community leaders in West Point in an effort to reopen the converted school.

Residents told Reuters they were angry that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's government had brought people infected with the virus to their community. Many voiced fears that Saturday's looting would spread contamination through the neighbourhood of corrugated shacks separated by narrow, muddy alleys.

"It felt bad. These people have put themselves at risk and the entire community at risk," said Molly Cooper, leader of a local women's association.

Residents also voiced anger that patients had been kept without sufficient food and water – chiming with concerns that measures in neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia to quarantine affected communities could lead to a humanitarian crisis.

The World Food Programme has said it would step up food shipments to some 1 million people at risk of hunger after roadblocks and quarantine measures were imposed in remote border area between Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

With international agencies scrambling to control the epidemic, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) opened a 120-bed treatment site in the ELWA hospital on the outskirts of Monrovia – the biggest-ever such centre. The hospital already has an 80-bed Ebola facility and the aim was the reach a total of 300 beds, Minister Brown said.

A team of 11 Ugandan healthcare workers have also opened a treatment centre in the JFK hospital in Monrovia with 34 beds in a ward usually used for cholera treatment, the minister said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) told countries affected by the outbreak to screen people departing at international airports, seaports and major land border points and stop any with signs of the virus from travelling. It dismissed the need for any further travel restrictions.

The four affected countries have already imposed health measures at international airports, checking passengers for fever. But with long land borders, often covered in dense forest, there seemed scant chance of controlling all cross-border movement.

Nigeria said on Monday that the number of confirmed Ebola cases there had reached 12, up from 10 last week, but five of these had almost fully recovered. Four people have died from the virus in Nigeria, where it was transferred by a US citizen who arrived by plane from Liberia.

The disease has taken a heavy toll on health workers in the region, with some 170 infected, of whom more than 80 have died.

Three African healthcare workers who started treatment in Monrovia with the rare experimental ZMapp drug on Thursday were showing signs of improvement, Liberia's Brown said.

The WHO this month gave the green light to use untested pharmaceuticals to treat Ebola patients.

However, the manufacturer of the drug, California-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical, has already said its scarce supplies have been exhausted. Officials have cautioned the public not to place too much hope in untested and scarce treatments.

In Guinea, where the outbreak was first detected in March, the government said there were just 26 confirmed cases of Ebola as of Monday, all in the Gueckedou border region. Aid workers said the main threat to Guinea was infected people crossing over the border from Sierra Leone and Liberia.

"As long as we don't have the same level of control over the disease in the three countries, Guinea will be dependent on the situation in Sierra Leone and Liberia," said Marc Poncin, MSF coordinator in Guinea.

Liberia's deputy army chief of staff, Colonel Eric W. Dennis, during a visit to the border region at the weekend gave orders to soldiers to shoot at people attempting to cross into Liberia, and pledged to supply more weapons to soldiers there.

Several countries have refused to accept flights and boats from the three worst-affected countries.

However, Ivory Coast on Monday lifted a ban on vessels that had visited the affected area from docking at its ports, according to a statement from the port of Abidjan. A shipping agent said the decision was aimed mostly at Nigeria, which transports large quantities of crude oil to Ivory Coast to be refined. – Reuters, August 19, 2014.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:11 pm 
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August 18, 2014


Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) admitted nine patients today into its newly constructed ELWA 3 Ebola Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia, beginning a process of scaling up operations at the 120-bed facility.

An Ebola outbreak continues to rage virtually unchecked in this city of approximately one million people, far exceeding the capacity of the few medical facilities accepting Ebola patients. Much of the city’s health system has shut down over fears of Ebola among staff members and patients, leaving many people without treatment for other conditions.

The first nine patients at ELWA 3 were among those seeking treatment at another Ebola center, ELWA 2, which is currently run by the Ministry of Health. MSF will increase the number of patients at ELWA 3 in the coming days, as newly trained staff members gain experience with the safety procedures. MSF currently has 19 international and 250 national staff members in Monrovia.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:19 pm 
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Unrest and panic in Liberia as Ebola deaths mount
By Jonathan Paye-Layleh and Krista Larson
MONROVIA, Liberia — Authorities in Liberia urgently searched on Monday for 17 people who fled an Ebola medical centre over the weekend when it was attacked by looters who stole bloodstained sheets and mattresses and took them into an enormous slum.

Health officials were combing Monrovia's West Point area that is home to at least 50,000 people to try to stop the virus from spreading further in a country where more than 400 people already have died.

The World Health Organization on Monday urged Liberia and other Ebola-affected countries to screen all passengers leaving international airports, sea ports and major ground crossings.

Those with symptoms of the virus also were urged not to travel. Many airlines have halted services to the capitals of Liberia and neighbouring Sierra Leone.

The weekend chaos in Monrovia highlights the growing unease and panic in Liberia amid the mounting Ebola death toll and illustrates the risks of further instability in this deeply impoverished country where mistrust of the government runs high. In addition, health workers are complaining about a lack of protective gear. Treatment centres are viewed by many as a place where people go just to die.

"They are not happy with the way Ebola is being managed and the response that the government is providing," said Koala Oumarou, country director for the aid group Plan Liberia, which is helping the health ministry to raise awareness. "It's where the frustration is coming from."

Liberia's president already has declared a state of emergency, dispatching armed soldiers to enforce quarantines of infected areas. But little was done Saturday to stoop looters from invading the Ebola quarantine centre and taking items covered in bodily fluids that now could only further transmit the gruesome virus, witnesses said. Ebola is spread through direct contact with the blood, vomit, feces or sweat of sick people.

"This West Point situation really was our greatest setback since we started this fight, and we are working on making sure that we can correct that situation," Liberian Information Minister Lewis Brown told The Associated Press.

"We have learned a bit of bitter lesson here," he added.

Witnesses say an angry mob attacked the West Point facility, a "holding centre" for people who had been exposed to Ebola and were being monitored during an incubation period for signs of the disease. The looters took medical equipment, and mattresses and sheets that had bloodstains, said a senior police official, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.

"All between the houses you could see people fleeing with items looted from the patients," the official said, adding that he now feared "the whole of West Point will be infected."

Witnesses said the weekend mob was angry about possible Ebola patients being brought into their area. None of those who fled had yet been confirmed to have Ebola, Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said.

The ransacking of the holding centre is only the latest sign of anger among Liberians with the government's response to the crisis. Some health workers and burial teams also have faced aggression from communities who fear the corpses will sicken them. Others have held protests when bodies left on the streets have not been collected fast enough.

This year's outbreak marks the first time the gruesome disease has made its way to Liberia, presenting a herculean task for the aid workers trying to halt its spread through awareness campaigns. Despite the billboards and radio jingles, fear and denial have obstructed efforts to get the crisis under control, observers say.

Liberia is now the country with the highest number of Ebola deaths in the affected West African countries — 413 as of last week — and most believe even that figure is vastly underestimated. Some of the hardest-hit areas of the country are under quarantine, and many victims are dying uncounted in their own homes, aid workers say.

On Monday, police in riot gear provided security at a new treatment centre being operated by Doctors Without Borders, which is also known by its French acronym, MSF.

Lindis Hurum, MSF's project co-ordinator in Liberia, has described the conditions on the ground there as "catastrophic."

"I think it needs a massive intervention from the international community," she said Monday of the mounting crisis. "This is something that goes way beyond the Liberian government and local authorities, and beyond what MSF can do. The scale is so big now and I think it will get even worse than it is today."


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:51 pm 
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niman wrote:
niman wrote:
Interview tonight at 11 PM EDT.

Dr. Henry L. Niman, PhD
Ebola Out Of Control

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:59 pm 
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Ebola patients still missing in Liberia
Authorities in Liberia are searching for 17 people who fled an Ebola quarantine center over the weekend. The WHO, meanwhile, has called on Ebola-affected countries to screen travelers.
Image
Ebola West Point Slum Infizierte verlassen Isolierstation
Health officials on Monday combed Monrovia's West Point slum looking for the 17 people who left the medical center set up in a local high school after it was attacked by club-wielding youths on Saturday.
There was no word on the whereabouts of any of the victims on the run Monday, but some reports suggested that at least some of them had left the slum entirely.
Some of those who raided the facility were reported to have shouted "there is no Ebola," reflecting rumors that the disease is not real and was a piece of fiction made up by the West.
Information Minister Lewis Brown said the raid on the center was a severe setback in the battle to get to grips with Ebola and not just because of the 17 missing patients.
"All those hooligans who looted the centre are now probable carriers of the disease... They took mattresses and bedding that were soaked with fluids from the patients. To quarantine the area could be one of the solutions," Brown told the AFP news agency.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people.
Call for exit screening
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has called on the Ebola-affected countries of West Africa to begin screening all passengers leaving through international airports, sea ports or major ground crossings.
"There should be no international travel of Ebola contacts or cases, unless the travel is part of an appropriate medical evacuation," a statement released by the United Nations agency said.
The current epidemic of the disease in West Africa is the worst since the virus first appeared in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976, having claimed a total of at least 1,145 lives. According to WHO figures released last week, at 413, Liberia's death toll is the highest, followed by Guinea, with 380 deaths and 348 in Sierra Leone.
pfd/se (AP, AFP )

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:03 pm 
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Time to cut the hype and focus on the real dangers of Ebola

By Editorial Board August 17
THE EBOLA VIRUS outbreak in West Africa has seized the world’s attention like a summer horror movie. The images of a terrible disease without a cure have surged across news and social media. Late last week, a spokesman for the World Health Organization (WHO) said the scope of the outbreak appears to have been “vastly underestimated.” Tantalizing reports of experimental drugs have raised hopes and then deflated them. The drugs are not only unproven, but they also don’t yet exist in more than a tiny quantity.

Some of the reactions have been tinged with hysteria. When two aid workers returned to Atlanta for treatment, fear exploded online and on television that they perhaps were spreading the deadly virus to the United States. The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday warned about fraudulent offers for Ebola treatments or preventions being peddled online.

It is time to get sober, fast. The Ebola infections in four nations of West Africa may have been started by Mother Nature, but controlling them is now very much in the hand of humans. More than 1,000 people have died. Either the world gets this right or the outbreak will spread. Getting it right demands more personnel, material, money and speed from nations and public health authorities than has been applied in the past six months. There won’t be any magic bullet in a new drug or vaccine to save the day. The only way Ebola can be stopped is by control measures that are labor and resource intensive: finding and isolating those infected.

The inadequacy of current efforts to stop the disease is becoming increasingly clear. An 80-bed treatment center that opened in Monrovia, Liberia, filled immediately. The next day, dozens more people showed up to be treated. Experts going house to house in Sierra Leone in search of infected patients are discovering more cases that had not been detected.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ ... story.html

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