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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:58 pm 
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Media reports cite cases of Ebola in Kailahun hotel used by Canadians running mobile lab in Sierra Leone

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:59 pm 
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The Public Health Agency of Canada said in a statement late Tuesday it is finalizing plans to bring the three-person mobile team from Winnipeg's National Microbiology Laboratory home from Sierra Leone.

The team is being recalled after three people staying at their hotel were diagnosed with the Ebola virus. None of the team members had direct contact with those diagnosed, and they are not displaying any signs of illness, officials said.

The team members will remain in voluntary isolation and will be monitored as they travel back to Canada. Those plans have not yet been firmed up, PHAC said.

The United Nations health agency had earlier announced it was pulling staff from a laboratory testing for the Ebola virus in Kailahun, in Sierra Leone, after a Senegalese epidemiologist was infected.

"It's a temporary measure to take care of the welfare of our remaining workers," WHO spokesperson Christy Feig told Reuters, without specifying how long the measure would last. "After our assessment, they will return."

The three Canadians were among six workers at the lab.

Guinea Ebola
Image
Russian doctor Valentine Safronov stands inside a mobile medical lab donated by the Russian government in Conakry, Guinea, on Tuesday. The WHO has withdrawn staff from a laboratory testing for Ebola virus at Kailahun, Sierra Leone. (Youssouf Bah/Associated Press)

There will be an investigation to see whether it was a routine infection, or something to do with the lab's processes or equipment, WHO said.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/ebola-outb ... -1.2746945

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:20 am 
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Canada to pull scientists fighting Ebola from Sierra Leone
The Canadians were working at a treatment centre operated by Medecins Sans Frontieres in Kailahun region of Sierra Leone.

The WHO's most recent report said there have been more than 2,600 infections and 1,400 deaths, making this the largest Ebola outbreak on record.
JENNY YANG / THE TORONTO STAR

By: Jennifer Yang Global health reporter, Published on Wed Aug 27 2014
The Canadian government is evacuating three scientists from Sierra Leone, where their role diagnosing blood samples was crucial to the operation of one of West Africa’s biggest Ebola treatment centres.

The Canadians were working at a busy treatment centre operated by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Kailahun, the eastern district at the heart of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. The “mobile” laboratory was deployed to West Africa in the spring at the request of the World Health Organization and three teams have now travelled to Sierra Leone from Winnipeg.
The sudden departure of the Canadian trio is part of a larger evacuation ordered by the World Health Organization, which recently removed its entire team from Kailahun. The decision came after a Senegalese epidemiologist working for the UN health agency tested positive for Ebola over the weekend, marking the first time a WHO-deployed expert has been infected with the deadly virus.

“This was the responsible thing to do. The field team has been through a traumatic time with this incident,” said Dr. Daniel Kertesz, the WHO’s representative in Sierra Leone, in a written statement Tuesday. “They are exhausted from many weeks of heroic work, helping patients infected with Ebola. When you add a stressor like this, the risk of accidents increases.”
The Senegalese epidemiologist appears to be doing relatively well, however, and was able to walk into the airplane that has since flown him to Germany for treatment, according to WHO spokesperson Christy Feig.

The three Canadian scientists and WHO epidemiologist were all living at the same hotel in Kailahun, where staff from MSF is also staying. According to Health Canada spokesperson Sean Upton, three people at the hotel have now been confirmed positive for the virus but Feig, who is now in Guinea, said she has only so far heard of the one.

In a written statement, Upton said the risk is “very low” that any of the Canadian scientists are infected, however: none had any direct contact with any of the sick individuals and they are not showing any signs or symptoms. All three will remain in voluntary isolation, however, and be closely monitored as they make their way home and after they return to Canada.

MSF’s busy treatment centre in Kailahun – which expanded from 60 to 80 beds last month –relied heavily on the work of the Canadian scientists, who both diagnosed suspected cases and confirmed when patients had cleared the virus and could finally go home.

Upton said the Public Health Agency of Canada is “committed to helping in the response to this outbreak and is preparing to send another team to Sierra Leone once appropriate steps have been taken to ensure a safe living environment.”
MSF spokesperson Karin Ekholm also said the Canadian scientists “would be welcome back when they want” at the treatment centre and Kailahun hotel, which has now been restricted to MSF staff only. It had previously been housing other WHO workers, as well as Red Cross volunteers and visiting journalists.

“Without a lab, everything is slower,” Ekholm said. “It makes the whole process smoother when we can discharge or confirm cases more regularly . . . and not keeping people waiting for the test results.”

Now, blood samples from the MSF isolation ward will have to be sent by car to Kenema, a journey that takes between four and six hours due to the terrible road conditions. Kenema is also the only other lab in Sierra Leone equipped to handle Ebola cases and it is already overwhelmed with samples sent from across the rest of the country.

Ekholm said MSF has also been investigating which of its own staffers may have come into contact with the WHO epidemiologist but none are currently showing any signs or symptoms. Ebola patients are only infectious when they are symptomatic and the virus is spread through close contact and bodily fluids, such as blood, urine, sweat or tears.

Meanwhile, a senior advisor to Sierra Leone’s president said on Wednesday that a third doctor has now died from Ebola in the country. Presidential adviser Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said Dr. Sahr Rogers was working at a clinic in Kenema when he contracted the virus.
Across West Africa, more than 2,615 cases and 1,427 deaths have now been reported in the unprecedented outbreak. A new Ebola outbreak was also recently confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a pregnant woman from a remote village butchered a bush animal that had been given to her husband, according to the WHO.

She died on Aug. 11 but several health-care workers, including a doctor and two nurses, have since fallen sick; there are now 24 suspected cases and 13 deaths in that region. Victims in the DRC outbreak have no history of travel to West African countries affected by the ongoing epidemic, however, and “at this time, it is believed that the outbreak in DRC is unrelated to the ongoing outbreak in West Africa,” the WHO said in a statement.

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/ ... leone.html

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:47 am 
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WHO pulls personnel from Ebola lab after health worker infected

By ALEXANDRA ZAVIS contact the reporter Medical ResearchHealthWestern AfricaDiseases and IllnessesWorld Health OrganizationInternational OrganizationsSierra Leone

WHO temporarily pulls workers from an Ebola lab in eastern Sierra Leone after a health worker is infected
The U.N. health organization said Tuesday that it had temporarily withdrawn personnel from an Ebola testing laboratory in eastern Sierra Leone – one of only two in the country -- after an epidemiologist deployed to the area became infected with the deadly virus.

The announcement came amid growing concern about the high toll of the disease on health workers in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.

More than 240 doctors, nurses and other health workers have been infected and at least 120 have died since the West African outbreak began in March, according to the World Health Organization. The disease has overwhelmed already stretched medical facilities, where staff did not have the protective equipment or training to respond.

More than 1,400 people have been killed in the outbreak, the deadliest on record. Officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo have also confirmed two Ebola deaths in their country, but say they are the result of a different strain of the virus than in West Africa.

The Senegalese epidemiologist was the first person deployed by WHO to be infected in West Africa, said Christy Feig, an agency spokeswoman. He is receiving treatment and will be evacuated from Sierra Leone in the coming days, she said.

Six remaining staff members and partners in Kailahun, near the border with Guinea, were withdrawn Monday pending an investigation, she said. WHO's representative in Sierra Leone, Dr. Daniel Kertesz, called it "the responsible thing to do."

"They are exhausted from many weeks of heroic work, helping patients infected with Ebola," he said in a statement. "When you add a stressor like this, the risk of accidents increases."

A WHO team arrived Tuesday in Kailahun to try to determine how the health worker became infected, review the living and working environment, and identify factors that could put others at risk.

Other health workers are waiting in Freetown to deploy to Kailahun when the investigation is complete, and appropriate action has been taken, Feig said. In the meantime, laboratory work will be performed at facilities in the eastern city of Kenema.


"We recognize that this will interrupt the work in the field for the short term, but it ensures we protect health workers and help the community over the longer term," Kertesz said.

Operations at an 80-bed Ebola care facility in Kailahun run by Doctors Without Borders were not affected by the decision, said Michael Goldfarb, a spokesman for the medical charity. The center has provided care for 225 Ebola patients, including 63 who recovered, since it opened in late June, he said.

http://www.latimes.com/world/africa/la- ... story.html

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:52 am 
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The world’s biggest Ebola ward … in a ghost town
in Opinion 14 days ago

The Daily Vox is running a series of blogs written by DR STEFAN KRUGER, who is in Sierra Leone with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to help combat the spread of Ebola in the region.

Entry 2: The eye of the storm
Image
Kailahun is currently in the eye of the Ebola storm. This sedate village with jungle-covered hills and dirt roads has until recently been bustling. Now it has largely been abandoned out of fear and panic. On the outskirts of the village lies the biggest Ebola case management centre in the history of MSF, and indeed the world. It is manned by more than 200 local staff members and a group of almost twenty fieldworkers assembled from around the world. The 56 bed centre has only been open for a month and there is already machinery in motion to expand it. It is the only centre in the greater Kailahun district which is able to admit patients with suspected Ebola.

Stefan Kruger MSF
On arrival I meet the emergency coordinator for my field briefing. “Don’t be afraid of the virus,” she says, “but always respect it. Always respect it.”
Then we are off to work and the first order of business is hands-on training in personal protective equipment (PPE). This entails rubber boots, yellow plastic suits, hoods, masks and goggles – the end product of which is a person covered from head to toe with not a single area of skin exposed anywhere. It may sound like this would cause one to become quite hot – it doesn’t, it makes you boil.
Of course it is necessary, it allows your entire outfit to be sprayed down with a chlorine solution when you exit the isolation area. The undressing of PPE is the most critical step. In fact, there is a person dedicated to spraying and assisting (without touching) the undressing. He or she will make sure that we all remove PPE methodically and correctly so that no self-contamination occurs.

Read Kruger’s first entry here.
Doctors without Borders (MSF) is currently working in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia to combat the spread of Ebola across the region.
To support this work, go to http://msf.org.za/donate or SMS “JOIN” to 42110 to donate R30. To receive direct updates about Ebola from Doctors without Borders (MSF) SA, e-mail your name to updates@msf.org.za with the subject line “Ebola”.
- Featured image via Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos/MSF

http://www.thedailyvox.co.za/the-worlds ... host-town/

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:59 am 
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Ebola New – Kailahun: The Senegalese epidemiologist who contracted the Ebola Virus in Kailahun Clinic while working with WHO in Sierra Leone has been evacuated to Germany for medical treatment. He had been doing surveillance work for the World Health Organization. The Sierra Leonean Nurse who was working with him died yesterday from Ebola in Kailahun .

https://www.facebook.com/pay.wahun/post ... 1444866078

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:08 pm 
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Canada pulling 3 member lab team back from Sierra Leone over Ebola fears

BY HELEN BRANSWELL, THE CANADIAN PRESS AUGUST 27, 2014 7:30 AM

TORONTO - Canada is in the process of evacuating its three-member mobile laboratory team from Sierra Leone over concerns for the safety of the scientists as the World Health Organization investigates how an African doctor who worked at the same field unit as the Canadians contracted Ebola.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said late Tuesday that the team is being recalled to Canada after people at the hotel complex where they were staying were diagnosed with Ebola. The agency said the Canadians do not appear to be sick but will be in voluntary isolation both on their trip home and after they return to the country.

The WHO's director of communications, Christy Feig, said the organization is investigating how the doctor, a Senegalese epidemiologist, became infected with the virus. The unit where he and the Canadians were working did not treat patients; it was a support operation for a nearby treatment centre operated by Medecins Sans Frontieres.

"It could have been a straightforward thing; he was exposed in an accident with an infected patient, it could have been that simple," Feig said Wednesday in an interview from Liberia.

"But it also is a little unusual so we want to give it a close look so we can make sure there's not something about the set up there that's putting more people at risk."

The Senegalese doctor has been evacuated to Hamburg, Germany for care. He is the first person working on an Ebola outbreak through the WHO's Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network to have contracted the disease.

The Canadian team was also in Sierra Leone under the aegis of the outbreak response network, which is known by the acronym GOARN.

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization announced it was temporarily removing its staff from the Kailahun operation, sending them to Freetown.

In addition to the lab team, that unit did tracing of contacts of known cases and employed social mobilizers to educate people on the symptoms of Ebola and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment.

Feig did not know how Canada planned to get the three scientists home.

The WHO has said that people who are considered contacts of a confirmed case should not travel on commercial flights until it is clear they are disease free. The incubation period for Ebola — the time from exposure to onset of symptoms — ranges from two to 21 days.

The Public Health Agency's statement did not elaborate on why the federal government felt the situation at Kailahun was significant enough to required that the scientists be brought back to Canada.

The agency did say the Canadians had no contact with the sick individuals at the hotel and are not themselves showing symptoms.

"The risk that any of the three individuals is infected is very low," the statement said.

The Public Health Agency said the federal government was in the process of finalizing the travel arrangements for the scientists, but gave no indication of when the three would depart from Sierra Leone or how they would be brought back to Canada.

Earlier this week a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development said the federal government has been working on plans to repatriate Canadians from the Ebola zone of West Africa, in case the need arose.

"Considerable planning has been undertaken in the event that a Canadian becomes sick abroad and asks for assistance with repatriation," spokesperson Beatrice Fenelon said in an emailed response to questions.

"DFATD has identified commercial medical air evacuation companies to fly a sick person home to Canada and has been in discussion with provincial health ministries about where a possible patients could safely receive care."

Fenelon said Canada has been working with international partners, including Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) on how best to address the Ebola situation.

"We are seeking to ensure that the global Ebola strategy (including factors such as medevac issues) are handled in as co-ordinated and effective a manner as possible, so as to provide clarity regarding options should health-care workers become infected in the course of their duties."

A growing number of airlines have suspended flights to the countries battling the outbreak — Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The UN and the WHO have said the scarcity of flights into the countries is impeding their ability to ramp up the response to the outbreak and is hindering the flow of medical equipment and other essential aid.

Feig said a new complement of WHO staff is waiting to be deployed to Kailahun, but will not be sent until the investigation into the infection is completed. It said it would be looking at the living arrangements of all the staff at Kailahun as part of the investigation.

In announcing the decision to temporarily withdraw from Kailahun, the WHO said staff at the treatment centre were exhausted and dispirited and need a break. It did not make reference to the departure of the Canadians or the fact that people at their hotel were infected with the virus.

“This was the responsible thing to do. The field team has been through a traumatic time through this incident,” Dr. Daniel Kertesz, the WHO representative in Sierra Leone, said in a statement.

“They are exhausted from many weeks of heroic work, helping patients infected with Ebola. When you add a stressor like this, the risk of accidents increases.”

The WHO said the Kailahun post will be restaffed after the work is done. And the Public Health Agency said Canada will send another lab team to Sierra Leone once appropriate measures have been taken to ensure a safe environment.

The WHO has not issued revised case numbers for nearly a week and has repeatedly said its numbers are likely underestimates of the scale of the outbreak.

Its last report said there have been more than 2,600 infections and 1,400 deaths, making this the largest Ebola outbreak on record.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/health/N ... story.html

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:14 pm 
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Helen Branswell @HelenBranswell · 41m
.@fedira The 2 were due or almost due to leave. Becoz of the contact - which @CDCgov calls low risk - 1 could not fly commercially.

Helen Banswell @HelenBranswell · 52m
2/2 The CDC staff members were at or near the end of their mission in Sierra Leone, ergo the decision to fly them home. No symptoms #Ebola.

Helen Branswell @HelenBranswell · 54m
Kailahun update: @CDCgov flew - by charter - 2 staffers back to the US from there after 1 had low-risk contact with an #Ebola case. 1/2

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:18 pm 
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Ebola Forces the WHO to Shut Down Its Lab in Sierra Leone
Stephanie Burnett @stephy_burnett 5:31 AM ET

Medical workers are in retreat as the deadly virus continues to ravage West Africa

by Taboola
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Tuesday that it had shut down an Ebola-testing laboratory in Sierra Leone and pulled its staff, after a health worker contracted the lethal virus, Reuters reports.

“It’s a temporary measure to take care of the welfare of our remaining workers,” WHO spokesperson Christy Feig told the news agency. She did not specify how long the closure would last, but said staff would return “after our assessment.”

The lab is located in Kailahun, an area near the Guinean border that is severely affected by the outbreak, but it is unclear precisely how the infected worker, an epidemiologist from Senegal, contracted the virus. The WHO said he would be evacuated out of the country for treatment.

“The field team has been through a traumatic time through this incident,” said Dr. Daniel Kertesz, the WHO representative in Sierra Leone, in a statement. “They are exhausted from many weeks of heroic work, helping patients infected with Ebola. When you add a stressor like this, the risk of accidents increases.”

The shuttered lab is one of only two in the country, Reuters says, and its closure is likely to impede efforts to contain the deadliest ever outbreak of the virus, which has infected at least 2,615 people and killed at least 1,427.

Reuters also reports that Canada has pulled its three-person mobile laboratory team from Kailahun. Sean Upton, a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada, said on Tuesday that the workers were brought home because three people staying at their hotel had contracted Ebola. He added that the Canadian medics did not have contact with the infected individuals and did not display any symptoms of the virus.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Doctors Without Borders told the New York Times that it would continue to operate an 80-bed treatment center in Kailahun.

Health workers have paid a heavy price in their efforts to contain the outbreak, which has killed at least 120 medical workers and infected more than 240 as of Monday.

http://time.com/3185783/who-medical-wor ... of-canada/

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:21 pm 
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Ebola fears prompt Canada to recall lab team from Sierra Leone
‘The risk that any of the three individuals is infected is very low,’ health agency says

Helen Branswell, The Canadian Press
August 27, 2014

TORONTO — Canada is bringing three scientists home from Kailahun, Sierra Leone, a post which the World Health Organization has temporarily closed to investigate the infection of an international medical responder working there.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has revealed it has also evacuated two members of its staff from Kailahun after one was confirmed to have had what is considered low-risk contact with a person who contracted Ebola.

One of the CDC staff members was at the end of a mission and the other was approaching the end of his or her time in the country, a spokesperson for the Atlanta-based agency said.

Tom Skinner said the CDC chartered a plane to bring the two back to the United States because one of them had worked in an office with a person who became sick at Kailahun. Under the CDC’s Ebola guidance that is considered a low-risk contact.

The WHO has stated that contacts of known Ebola cases should not travel on commercial aircraft while they are in the incubation period for the disease, 21 days from the time of exposure.

That recommendation, issued when the WHO declared Ebola a public health emergency of international concern on Aug. 8, is aimed at preventing further spread of the virus.

Skinner said the evacuated Americans do not have symptoms of Ebola, but will be monitored until the 21-day period is up.

He noted the CDC remains committed to the fight against Ebola in West Africa. The agency currently has 29 staff members in Sierra Leone, with nine more preparing to be deployed to the country.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has provided no additional information on how it plans to bring the three lab scientists back to this country. If the three had contact with the infected worker or any other Ebola patient, they should not travel on commercial flights. But the agency has not made their status clear.

It has said that none of the three is experiencing any symptoms. All three are in voluntary isolation and will remain so for the full 21-day period.

When it announced it was pulling back the lab scientists, the Public Health Agency said the decision was based on the fact that three people who were at the hotel complex where the Canadians were staying had tested positive for Ebola. The agency said the Canadians had no contact with the sick individuals at the hotel.

“The risk that any of the three individuals is infected is very low,” the statement said.

Earlier this week a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development said the federal government has been working on plans to repatriate Canadians from the Ebola zone of West Africa, in case the need arose.

“Considerable planning has been undertaken in the event that a Canadian becomes sick abroad and asks for assistance with repatriation,” spokesperson Beatrice Fenelon said in an emailed response to questions.

“DFATD has identified commercial medical air evacuation companies to fly a sick person home to Canada and has been in discussion with provincial health ministries about where possible patients could safely receive care.”

Fenelon said Canada has been working with international partners, including Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), on how best to address the Ebola situation.

“We are seeking to ensure that the global Ebola strategy (including factors such as medevac issues) are handled in as co-ordinated and effective a manner as possible, so as to provide clarity regarding options should health-care workers become infected in the course of their duties.”

A growing number of airlines have suspended flights to the countries battling the outbreak — Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The UN and the WHO have said the scarcity of flights into the countries is impeding their ability to ramp up the response to the outbreak and is hindering the flow of medical equipment and other essential aid.

The international health-care worker who contracted Ebola at Kailahun has been identified as a Senegalese epidemiologist, working for the WHO through its Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network — known as GOARN.

He was flown to Hamburg, Germany, on Wednesday and will receive care there.

http://www.macleans.ca/news/world/ebola ... rra-leone/

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