Sunday, 17 August 2014

SAD : Guinea Shuts Borders With Sierra Leone, Liberia In Bid To Halt Ebola

Guinea closed its borders with Sierra
Leone and Liberia on Saturday in a bid
to halt the spread of an Ebola epidemic
that has killed nearly 1,000 people in
the three countries this year.
Authorities said the decision was taken
primarily to prevent infected people
crossing into Guinea, where at least
367 people have died of Ebola since
March and 18 others are being treated
in isolation.
The West African Ebola outbreak is the
worst in history and the World Health
Organization (WHO) said on Friday it
represents an international health
emergency that will likely continue
spreading for months.
It has put a severe strain on the health
systems of affected states and
governments have responded with a
range of measures including national
emergencies declared in Sierra Leone,
Liberia and Nigeria, which confirmed
seven cases of Ebola in Lagos.
"We have provisionally closed the
frontier between Guinea and Sierra
Leone because of all the news that we
have received from there recently,"
Health Minister Rémy Lamah said,
noting Guinea had also closed its
border with Liberia.
The measures had been taken in
consultation with the two neighbours,
Guinea's Minister for International
Cooperation, Moustapha Koutoub Sano,
told a news conference. There was no
immediate comment from Liberia and
Sierra Leone.
While Guinea's official land border
crossings with the countries will shut, it
will be extremely difficult to prevent
people in rural areas crossing its long
and porous frontiers.
Ebola is one of the deadliest diseases
known to humanity. It has no proven
cure and there is no vaccine to prevent
infection. The most effective treatment
involves alleviating symptoms that
include fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.
The rigorous use of quarantine is
needed to prevent its spread as well as
high standards of hygiene for anyone
who might come into contact with the
These measures have proved hard to
enforce given that Ebola has spread in
rural parts of some of the world's
poorest countries. The task is made
harder because of mistrust of health
workers in areas with inadequate public
health services.
The WHO said on Friday 961 people
have died during the outbreak and
1,779 have been infected.
Ebola has reaped a high toll on health
workers who have acted as first
responders. Liberia's President Ellen
Johnson Sirleaf apologised to health
workers on Saturday.
"If we haven't done enough so far, I
have come to apologise to you," she
told hundreds of health workers who
gathered at Monrovia's City Hall for a
meeting with her government.
Johnson Sirleaf pledged up to $18
million to health workers to help with
insurance and death benefits, to fund
more ambulances and to increase the
number of treatment centres.
Sierra Leone's Health Ministry said a
senior physician had contracted the
disease at the Connaught referral
hospital in the capital Freetown. Dr
Modupeh Cole contracted the disease
"after treating a patient … who was
later proved to have the virus and
died," said ministry spokesman Sidi
Yahya Tunis.
Cole was taken to an Ebola treatment
centre in eastern Kailahun district run by
medical charity Medecins Sans
Frontieres, Tunis said.
He is the latest Sierra Leonean medical
practitioner to contract the virus. Its
leading Ebola doctor, Shek Umar Khan,
died of the disease last month and
several nurses have died.
Authorities in Ghana said they were
testing samples from a man from
Burkina Faso who died while being
transported to hospital in the Upper East
"He had fever and was bleeding from
the nose so we are testing him for Ebola
because we don't want to take
chances," Yaw Manu, medical head at
Bawku Presbyterian Hospital, said by
telephone. Ghana has previously
conducted around 20 Ebola tests,
though none has proved positive.
Authorities in Benin also said on
Saturday they were testing a patient for
Ebola, the second suspected case in the
country, while Saudi Arabia's Health
Ministry said initial tests on a dead
Saudi citizen suspected of having Ebola
were negative.
International alarm over the spread of
the disease increased last month when
a U.S. citizen died in Nigeria after
travelling there by plane from Liberia.
Since then, other countries with no cases
of the disease have taken measures as
a precaution.
Zambia said it would restrict the entry
of travellers from countries affected by
the virus and would ban Zambians from
travelling to those countries, in one of
the strictest moves by any nation
outside of West Africa.
Zambia's Health Ministry also advised
against holding any "international
events" such as conferences and other
gatherings, citing concerns about
controlling potential outbreaks.
Gambia's Ministry of Transport said any
planes flying to the capital Banjul should
not pick up passengers at airports in
Conakry, Freetown or Monrovia, reports

Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

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