August 2014 – AFRICA – Kenyan officials say the country is closing its borders to travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in response to the deadly Ebola outbreak. Kenya’s health secretary said Kenyans and medical workers flying in from those states would still be allowed in. Kenyan Airways says it will stop flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone when the ban comes in on Wednesday. The World Health Organization (WHO) says Kenya is at “high risk” from Ebola because it is a major transport hub. The epidemic began in Guinea in February and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. On Friday, the death toll rose to 1,145 after the WHO said 76 new deaths had been reported in the two days to 13 August. There have been 2,127 cases reported in total.
Earlier, Kenya’s health ministry said four suspected cases of Ebola in the country had tested negative for the virus. The cases had involved a Liberian national and two Nigerians who had recently travelled to Kenya as well as a Zimbabwean. Kenyan Airways said it had decided to cancel flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone’s capitals after advice from Kenya’s government. It said all passengers booked on the suspended flights would get a full refund. The company said its flights to Nigeria were not affected by the suspension. Announcing the government’s decision, Kenyan Health Minister James Macharia said it was “in the interest of public health.” He warned that Kenyans and health workers who had returned from the three West African states would face “strict checks” and would be quarantined if necessary.
On Friday, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said the outbreak would take at least six months to bring under control. MSF President Joanne Liu said the situation was “deteriorating faster, and moving faster, than we can respond to.” The WHO also admitted that the scale of the outbreak appeared to be “vastly underestimated” and said “extraordinary measures” were needed to contain it. Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids of a person who is infected. Initial flu-like symptoms can lead to external hemorrhaging from areas such as eyes and gums, and internal bleeding which can lead to organ failure. –BBC
“The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is so out of control that governments there have revived a disease-fighting tactic not used in nearly a century: the “cordon sanitaire,” in which a line is drawn around the infected area and no one is allowed out.” – NY Times
3 people quarantined in India: Three persons from Ebola-affected Nigeria, who arrived here Saturday morning, have been admitted to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital for screening and treatment if required. The three Nigerians, aged 79, 37 and 4 years had fever and their tests were being done at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Delhi, an official release said here. In addition to this, a 32-year-old Indian from Durg in Chhattisgarh who returned from Nigeria has been admitted to a hospital in Bhilai. His samples are also being tested at NCDC, the release said. WHO has said air travel, even from Ebola-affected countries, is low-risk for transmission of the disease. WHO has reported a total of 2,127 cases and 1,145 deaths due to Ebola from affected countries. –Times of India