- All geared up for dealing with Ebola
- Boston University
The world was briefly alarmed, or, well, the media has tried to sound the alarm, when it was reported that the usually deadly Ebola virus had spread from its confines in tropical sub-Saharan Africa to Canada when a man who had been in Liberia returned very ill to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Holy Hot Zone Batman!
Wait, never mind. Canadian health officials have since said that the man who fell ill with the symptoms of severe hemorrhagic fever – massive internal bleeding caused by the infection basically melting down your insides – doesn’t appear to have Ebola. I doubt the man, who remains surrounded by health workers in masks and protective clothing given he still has one of the other kinds of horrible hemorrhagic viruses, will be much relieved.
Nor will many of those living in Guinea or anywhere else near the latest outbreak of this made-for-Hollywood infectious bug be relieved. Nearly 60 people have been reported killed from the infection in this West African outbreak, out of about 80 diagnosed. Continue reading
A cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone that made its way to the capital city of Freetown is spreading at an alarming rate. MSF reported an estimated 1,500 cases and 17 deaths in a July 31 press release. The WHO released new numbers yesterday that cholera has infected 5,706 people since the start of August. They single out Western Aread and Tonkolili as areas with the greatest burden.
Right now, the response is being led by major players such as the Sierra Leonean Ministry of Health, MSF, UNICEF and the WHO. At the same time, neighboring Guinea is dealing with its own cholera outbreak. According to MSF, the shared resivor near the coast is a ‘breeding ground for the disease.’
“This ‘coastal cholera’ has already killed some 250 people,” says MSF epidemiologist Michel Van Herp. “The water reservoir allows the Vibrio cholerae bacteria to survive and go on to infect the population.” To respond, organizations are turning their focus onto improving hygiene.