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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:24 am 
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Children surround a man, left, that fell down while walking on a street suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. The World Health Organization says the outbreak has killed more than 1,200 people, while authorities struggle to contain its spread and treat the sick. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:26 am 
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Liberia security forces blockade an area around the West Point Ebola center as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government¿s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:28 am 
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Liberia security forces, blockade an area around the West Point Ebola center as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in city Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government¿s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:30 am 
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Liberia security forces, block a road near the West Point Ebola center as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in city Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government¿s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:32 am 
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Media reports claim the Quarantine is in place for 21 days.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:21 am 
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Liberian security forces seal slum to halt Ebola
Print The Associated Press By The Associated Press
on August 20, 2014 at 8:40 AM, updated August 20, 2014 at 8:42 AM

JONATHAN PAYE-LAYLEH, Associated Press
ABBAS DULLEH, Associated Press

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Security forces blocked off a seaside slum in Liberia's capital Wednesday, stepping up the government's fight to stop the spread of Ebola, unnerving residents and reportedly sparking a protest.

In central Monrovia there were few cars or people about as nervous residents stayed inside after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordered West Point sealed off and imposed a nighttime curfew, saying that authorities have not been able to curtail the spread of Ebola in the face of defiance of their recommendations.

Sirleaf also ordered gathering places like movie theaters and night clubs shut and put Dolo Town, 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of the capital, under quarantine as well.

"These measures are meant to save lives," she said in an address Tuesday night.

Ebola has killed at least 1,229 of the more than 2,200 people it has sickened in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the outbreak, according to World Health Organizations figures. Liberia has the highest death toll and its number of cases is rising the fastest.

Fear and tension are running high in the capital, especially in places like West Point where there is substantial mistrust of authority. Dead bodies are dumped daily in the streets by relatives who fear infection. Fearful residents call a government hotline to ask that they be removed, but they sometimes remain outside for hours or days.

On Wednesday, riot police and soldiers deployed to block anyone from entering or leaving West Point, which occupies a peninsula where the Mesurado River meets the Atlantic Ocean. Few roads go into the area, and major road runs along the base of the peninsula, serving as a barrier between the neighborhood and the rest of Monrovia. A coast guard boat was also patrolling the waters around the kilometer (.6 mile)-long peninsula.

A woman who called into a local radio station's breakfast program said she was blocked in traffic because there was a protest in West Point by disgruntled youths opposed to the quarantine.

Residents of the slum looted an Ebola screening center over the weekend, accusing the government of bringing sick people from all over the city to their neighborhood.

While Sirleaf blamed the disease's continued spread on people who have hidden the sick or defied orders against touching dead bodies, many Liberians feel their government isn't doing enough to protect them from the dreaded disease.

One resident, Richard Kieh, told The Associated Press by phone that the community was in "disarray" following the arrival of forces on Wednesday morning.

"Prices of things have been doubled here," he said.

The current outbreak is currently the most severe in Liberia and Sierra Leone, but the U.N. health agency said that there were encouraging signs that the tide was beginning to turn in Guinea. There is also hope that Nigeria has managed to contain the disease to only a few cases

Nigeria's health minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, said Tuesday that a fifth person had died of the disease in that country. All of Nigeria's reported cases so far have been people who had direct contact with a Liberian-American man who was already infected when he arrived in the country on an airliner.

___

Associated Press writer Maram Mazen in Lagos, Nigeria, contributed to this report.

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/ ... _seal.html

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:53 am 
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Clashes Erupt as Liberia Imposes Quarantine to Curb Ebola
By NORIMITSU ONISHIAUG. 20, 2014
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SLIDE SHOW|5 Photos

MONROVIA, Liberia — Liberia’s halting efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak spreading across parts of West Africa quickly turned violent on Wednesday when angry young men hurled rocks and stormed barbed-wire barricades, trying to break out of a neighborhood here that had been cordoned off by the government.

Soldiers repelled the surging crowd with live rounds, driving hundreds of young men back into the neighborhood, a slum of tens of thousands in Monrovia known as West Point.

One teenager in the crowd, Shakie Kamara, 15, lay on the ground near the barricade, his right leg apparently wounded by a bullet from the melee. “Help me,” pleaded Mr. Kamara, who was barefoot and wore a green Philadelphia Eagles T-shirt.

Lieut. Col. Abraham Kromah, the national police’s head of operations, arrived a few minutes later.

“This is messed up,” he said, looking at the teenager while complaining about the surging crowd. “They injured one of my police officers. That’s not cool. It’s a group of criminals that did this. Look at this child. God in heaven help us.”

The clashes marked a dangerous new chapter in West Africa’s five-month fight against the Ebola epidemic, already the deadliest on record. Outbreaks in neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea have mostly been concentrated in rural areas, but the disease has spread to a major city, Monrovia, the Liberian capital.

Fighting Ebola in an urban area -– particularly in a place like West Point, an extremely poor and often violent place that still bears deep scars from Liberia’s 14-year-long civil war –- presents challenges that the government and international aid organizations have only started grappling with.

The risks that Ebola will spread quickly, and the difficulties in containing it, are multiplied in a dense urban environment, especially one where residents appear increasingly distrustful of the government’s approach to addressing the crisis, experts say.

Many people in West Point were already seething at the government’s attempt to open an Ebola center at a school in their neighborhood, complaining that suspected Ebola patients from other parts of the city were being brought there as well. Their neighborhood, they feared, was effectively being turned into a dumping ground for the disease.

On Saturday, hundreds of people stormed the school, carrying off supplies and allowing suspected Ebola patients to flee the facility, heightening concerns that the disease would spread through the city.

On Wednesday morning, the residents of West Point awoke to learn that their entire area was under government quarantine. Soldiers and police in riot gear blocked roads in and out of the seaside neighborhood. Coast guard officers stopped residents from setting out aboard canoes from West Point, the neighborhood with the highest number of confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola in the capital.

As residents realized that the entire area had been sealed off from the rest of the capital, frustrations began to mount. In one midmorning attempt to break through the cordon, at an entrance to the neighborhood next to an electrical station, soldiers fired in the air to dispel the protesters. But some of the bullets appear to have hit the crowd as well, intensifying the sense of a neighborhood under siege.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/21/world ... w-bna&_r=0

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:23 pm 
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Clashes in Liberia Slum Sealed off to Halt Ebola
MONROVIA, Liberia — Aug 20, 2014, 12:08 PM ET
By JONATHAN PAYE-LAYLEH and WADE WILLIAMS Associated Press
Associated Press
Hundreds of residents of a seaside slum in Liberia's capital clashed with security forces Wednesday to protest an armed blockade of the peninsula that is their neighborhood as part of the government's desperate efforts to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

Protests began in the morning when roads into and out of West Point were blocked by riot police and troops and a coast guard boat patrolled the waters offshore.

When the local government representative, who had not slept at home, returned to get her family out, hundreds of people surrounded her house until police and soldiers packed her and her family into a car and hustled them away. Security forces fired into the air to disperse the crowd, and residents threw stones or whatever was at hand at them. At least one person was injured.

Deputy Police Chief Abraham Kromah said later Wednesday that forces managed to restore order in the area. He said the police were investigating whether any shots had been fired.

Fear and tension have been building in Monrovia for days, and West Point has been one of the flash points. West Point residents raided an Ebola screening center over the weekend, accusing officials of bringing sick people from all over Monrovia into their neighborhood. The move to seal off the densely populated, impoverished peninsula shows that the government is struggling to contain a deadly outbreak that is spreading faster in Liberia than anywhere else.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordered West Point sealed off and imposed a nationwide curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

"We have been unable to control the spread" of Ebola, Sirleaf said in an address to the nation Tuesday night. She blamed the rising case toll on denial, defiance of authorities and cultural burial practices, in which bodies are handled. But many feel the government has not done enough to protect them from the spread of Ebola.

The Ebola outbreak, which according to the World Health Organization began in December, has killed at least 1,229 people in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

On Wednesday, riot police and soldiers created roadblocks out of piles of scrap wood and barbed wire to prevent anyone from entering or leaving West Point, which occupies a half-mile-long (kilometer-long) peninsula where the Mesurado River meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Few roads go into the area and a major road runs along the base of the point, serving as a barrier between the neighborhood and the rest of Monrovia. Ferries to the area have been halted.

At least 50,000 people live in West Point, one of the poorest and most densely populated neighborhoods of the capital. Sanitation is poor even in the best of times and defecation in the streets and beaches is a major problem. Mistrust of authorities is rampant in this poorly served area, where many people live without electricity or access to clean water.

The community is in "disarray" following the arrival of forces on Wednesday morning, West Point resident, Richard Kieh, told The Associated Press by phone.

"Prices of things have been doubled here," he said.

The Ebola outbreak has already touched other parts of the capital, where dead bodies have lain in the streets for hours, sometimes days, even though residents asked that they be picked up by Health Ministry workers.

Liberia has the highest death toll, and its number of cases is rising the fastest. Sirleaf also ordered gathering places like movie theaters and night clubs shut and cordoned off Dolo Town, 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of the capital.

While whole counties and districts in Sierra Leone and Liberia have been sealed off and internal travel restrictions have limited the movement of people in Guinea, the sealing off of West Point is the first time such restrictions have been put in place in a capital city in this outbreak.

The current Ebola outbreak is currently the most severe in Liberia and Sierra Leone, but the U.N. health agency said that there were encouraging signs that the tide was beginning to turn in Guinea. There is also hope that Nigeria has managed to contain the disease to about a dozen cases.

Nigeria's health minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, said Tuesday that a fifth person had died of the disease in that country. All of Nigeria's reported cases so far have been people who had direct contact with a Liberian-American man who was already infected when he arrived in the country on an airliner.

———

Associated Press photographer Abbas Dulleh in Monrovia, Liberia, and writer Maram Mazen in Lagos, Nigeria, contributed to this report.
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wir ... ePage=true

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:02 pm 
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WHO sees start of shortages due to Ebola-related restrictions
Filed Under: Ebola
Lisa Schnirring | Staff Writer | CIDRAP News | Aug 20, 2014

Service interruptions by shippers are starting to cause food and fuel shortages in Ebola-hit countries, the WHO said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) today aired concern about companies suspending services to countries affected by the Ebola outbreak, with some starting to feel shortages of food and other supplies, and said the pace of new illnesses and deaths continues to surge, especially in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

High-level communications between the WHO and affected countries, companies, and groups that conduct business in and with Africa are still underway, and some companies have suspended services to the affected countries, according to a WHO statement today. Last week the agency aired concerns about flight bans and said the actions could hamper the flow of needed supplies to the outbreak region.

Shortages could hamper response, relief efforts
Delivery suspensions by shipping companies are starting to cause shortages of food, fuel, and basic supplies in affected countries, the WHO said, adding that it is already working with the United Nations World Food Programme to shore up food and other supplies for the region. It called on companies to make their decisions based on sound science about Ebola virus transmission.

Some airlines, such as British Airways and Emirates Airlines, have suspended service to outbreak areas. In a related development, some Air France flights crews are refusing to board planes because of outbreak fears, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported today. A spokesman for the airline told AFP that flights scheduled for the region have not been left shorthanded.

Besides one sick airline traveler whose illness was detected in Nigeria, no travel-linked Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases have been detected anywhere in the world. The WHO and its emergency committee have said the risk for travel-related spread is very low and have urged countries not to issue trade or travel bans.

Illnesses and deaths rise in three countries
In outbreak developments, the WHO said today that between Aug 17 and 18, 221 new EVD cases and 106 deaths were reported from the West African outbreak countries, lifting the overall total to 2,473 illnesses with 1,350 deaths.

Liberia, which carries the biggest burden of cases, reported 126 more EVD cases and 95 deaths, boosting its total to 972 infections, 576 of them fatal. Sierra Leone health officials reported 59 more illnesses and 9 more deaths, bringing its total to 907 EVD cases, 374 of them fatal.

Civil unrest in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, has been hampering disease control efforts and fueling fears of further spread, and today police used tear gas and live ammunition to scatter a crowd attempting to break out of a quarantined neighborhood, according to a Reuters report.

The conflict occurred in the city's West Point slum area, where on Aug 16 a crowd looted an Ebola holding area, scattering patients and clinic supplies, including soiled items, into the community. The country's health ministry said yesterday that all of the patients, who were being evaluated for possible exposure to the virus, had been found and were being monitored at one of the city's hospitals.

In Guinea, which has recently seen some hopeful signs in the battle to curb the virus, authorities reported 36 more illnesses and 2 more deaths, raising its total to 579 cases and 396 deaths. Nigeria, where cases were linked to a sick traveler, reported no new cases or deaths, keeping its tally at 15 cases and 4 deaths.

California, New Mexico isolate patients, await test results
In other developments, California health officials said today that a patient identified as low-risk for EVD infection is in an isolation unit at a Sacramento County hospital awaiting the results of EVD testing, which is underway at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Kaiser Permanente said yesterday in a statement that it was working with county health officials regarding a patient admitted to Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus. Kaiser said it was taking the same precautions it uses for other patients with suspected infectious diseases, which include isolating the patient in a negative-pressure room, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by trained staff, and coordination with infectious disease specialists.

Gil Chavez, MD, state epidemiologist at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), said at a media telebriefing today that he couldn't share any patient details because of privacy rules, but federal, state, and local health officials have deemed the patient at low risk on the basis of a CDC assessment of travel history, exposure, and symptoms. He added that the patient is being tested out of an abundance of caution and that test results are expected back in about 3 days.

In another precaution, California health officials are already identifying the patient's close contacts. "We are being very proactive very early on. There have been no cases that have met the CDC definition of high risk," Chavez said. He said identification of a low-risk patient isn't surprising, because other diseases resemble the initial symptoms of EVD and patients travel to California from all over the world.

The CDC has urged states to increase their surveillance for possible cases, and so far hospitals in 27 states have alerted the agency about possible cases, CDC officials told ABC News today. Among the states reporting, 58 cases were ruled out in view of patient exposures and symptoms, but blood samples were sent to the CDC for 10 patients. So far 7 have tested negative and test results are pending for 3, according to the ABC News report.

On Aug 17 the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDH) said it was working with the CDC regarding tests to rule out an EVD infection in a 30-year-old woman who came down with a sore throat, headache, muscle aches, and fever after teaching in Sierra Leone. It said the University of Mexico Hospital has isolated the patient, and tests are being done out of an abundance of caution.

Since early August, when West Africa's EVD outbreak became much worse, with two American medical missionaries evacuated to the United States for treatment, the CDC has issued several guidance documents for health providers and has activated its emergency operations center (EOC) at its highest level to devote more resources to monitoring and responding to the outbreak.

CDC guidance tackles environmental issues
Yesterday the CDC posted interim guidance for EVD environmental control in hospitals. It said that though the role of the environment in transmission hasn't been pinned down, limited lab studies suggest the virus can remain viable on solid surfaces, with slowly declining concentrations, over several days. Though there is no evidence that the virus transmits through the environment or fomites, stronger precautions are warranted, given the apparently low infectious dose, the potential for high virus titers in the blood of sick patients, and the severity of the disease, the agency said.

The CDC's guidance covers PPE for environmental services staff, disinfectants that should be used, considerations about porous surface contamination, and laundry.

See also:

Aug 20 WHO update

Aug 20 AFP story

Aug 20 Reuters story

Aug 14 CIDRAP News story "WHO pushes back against Ebola-related flight bans"

Aug 19 CDPH press release

Aug 19 Kaiser Permanente statement

Aug 17 NMDH press release

Aug 20 ABC News report

Aug 19 CDC interim guidance on environmental infection control for Ebola virus

http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspect ... strictions

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