August 2014 – AFRICA – The Liberian government is ordering that all corpses of Ebola victims must be cremated as fears rise that the disease could be spread by bodies being buried in residential areas. Information Minister Lewis Brown announced Monday on state radio that authorities now will cremate the remains of Ebola victims. The order comes after a tense standoff erupted over the weekend when health workers tried to bury more than 20 Ebola victims on the outskirts of Monrovia. Authorities said military police officers were called in to help restore order so that the burials could take place. West Africa is experiencing the largest recorded Ebola outbreak in history, with at least 729 deaths blamed on the disease. Many contracted the disease by touching the bodies of victims, as is tradition at funerals. Meanwhile, Nigeria says it has a second Ebola case – that of one of the doctors who treated a man who died from Ebola after his arrival from Liberia. This year’s outbreak, the worst ever, has centered on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing 887 people. It spreads by contact with infected blood and bodily fluids – and touching the body of someone who has died of Ebola is particularly dangerous.
Nigeria’s Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said that 70 people have been traced who came into contact with the man who died there, Patrick Sawyer, eight of whom are now in isolation. Sawyer, an employee of the Liberian finance ministry, had arrived in Lagos from Monrovia after changing planes in Togo’s capital, Lome, on 20 July and died five days later in quarantine. As part of efforts to help contain the outbreak, the US says it is planning to send at least 50 public health experts within the next 30 days. The BBC’s Jonathan Paye-Layleh in the capital, Monrovia, says cremation is not part of the culture in Liberia and health experts say burial ceremonies have played a role in the transmission of the virus. Liberia’s Information Minister Lewis Brown made the announcement on state radio about cremations after an incident over the weekend when a community refused to allow the burial of some bodies, most of them Ebola victims. -–ABC BBC