More cases of the deadly Ebola virus will almost inevitably spread in Europe but the continent is well prepared to control the disease, the World Health Organisation’s regional director said on Tuesday. Reuters reports:
“Such imported cases and similar events as have happened in Spain will happen also in the future, most likely,” Jakab told Reuters in a telephone interview from her Copenhagen office.
“It is quite unavoidable … that such incidents will happen in the future because of the extensive travel both from Europe to the affected countries and the other way around,” she said.
Several countries in the WHO’s European region, including France, Britain, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain, have treated patients repatriated after contracting the disease in West Africa, where Ebola has spread through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since March, killing more than 3,400 people in the largest outbreak of the disease in history.
Jakab said European health workers tasked with caring for the patients, as well as their families and close contacts, were most at risk of becoming infected.
“It will happen,” she said. “But the most important thing in our view is that Europe is still at low risk and that the western part of the European region particularly is the best prepared in the world to respond to viral haemorrhagic fevers including Ebola.”
Global Health and Development Beat
Transgender activist Audrey Mbugua won a landmark case on Tuesday when the High Court ordered the Kenya National Examinations Council to change her name on her academic certificates.
Three Ugandans are being monitored in medical isolation for possibly contracting the Ebola-like Marburg virus, health officials said Tuesday, after a hospital worker died.
The dengue virus has killed six people and infected more than 23,000 in southern China’s worst outbreak of the mosquito-transmitted disease in about two decades, officials said.
Agencies say suspension of flights by British Airways to and from Sierra Leone and Liberia is causing travel problems and sending wrong message.
Liberian healthcare workers still plan to stage a go-slow, or work slowdown, to press demands for hazard pay on the front line of the Ebola epidemic, a union leader said.
Even amid safety measures, Ebola response workers in Liberia are risking their own lives to save others. But the communities where they reside are shunning and rejecting them, instead of regarding them as heroes, reports FrontPageAfrica.
The majority of disabled children in the developing world are in some form of education, finds new research. So, it’s time for the debate to move on from “getting bums on seats” to focusing on the quality of education these children get and their overall school experience, reports SciDevNet.
The European Union said Tuesday it is urgently airlifting relief goods to West Africa to combat the Ebola crisis, as the disease threatened its shores with an infection in Spain.
Buzzing in the Blogs
The NPR Goats and Soda blog describes how Firestone, the car tire brand, managed to control Ebola around its rubber plant in Liberia. An excerpt:
Firestone immediately quarantined the woman’s family. Like so many Ebola patients, she died soon after being admitted to the ward. But no one else at Firestone got infected: not her family and not the workers who transported, treated and cared for her.
The Firestone managers had the benefit of backing and resources of a major corporation — something the communities around them did not.
Firestone didn’t see another Ebola case for four months. Then in August, as the epidemic raced through the nearby capital, patients with Ebola started appearing at the one hospital and several clinics across the giant rubber plantation. The hospital isolation ward was expanded to 23 beds and a prefab annex was built. Containing Ebola became the number-one priority of the company. Schools in the town, which have been closed by government decree, were transformed into quarantine centers. Teachers were dispatched for door-to-door outreach.
Hundreds of people with possible exposure to the virus were placed under quarantine. Seventy-two cases were reported. Forty-eight were treated in the hospital and 18 survived. By mid-September the company’s Ebola treatment unit was nearly full.
As of this weekend, however, only three patients remained: a trio of boys age 4, 9 and 17.
“So we have these three,” says Dr. Benedict Wollor, coordinator for the Ebola treatment unit at Firestone. “We are concerned because by this morning the 4-year-old was just crying.”
A team is getting dressed in full body suits, gloves and goggles to enter the ward: a doctor, two nurses and a man with an agricultural sprayer full of disinfectant strapped to his back. Wollor says the team has a lot of work to do before they get overheated in their industrial spacesuits.
12:00 PM – Entrepreneurship for Human Flourishing: The Role of Business in Overcoming Poverty – AEI
10:00 AM – Turning the Tide for Girls and Young Women: How to Achieve an AIDS-Free Future – Kaiser Family Foundation and Population Council
1:20 PM – Global Tobacco Control – GHC
4:30 PM – Handwashing Innovations and Inspirations – Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing
2:00 PM – Drumbeat to COP 20: Linking Reproductive Health, Food Security, and Climate Change – Aspen Institute
10:00 AM – Mental Health Needs in a Humanitarian Crisis – Kaiser Family Foundation and The Global Mental Health Advocacy Working Group
12:30 PM – Food for the Future: Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change – World Bank
Friday – 17 October
8:30 AM – Ensuring Equity for NCDs in Women’s Health Throughout the Life Course – FHI 360
By Mark Leon Goldberg and Tom Murphy
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