EBOLA-300x168The World Health Organisation on Saturday declared that Ebola virus transmission in Sierra Leone has ended.
WHO made the declaration after 42 days, or two Ebola virus incubation cycles, ha?d passed without a new case of the virus.
This is contained in a statement by Anders Nordstrom, WHO Representative in Sierra Leone.
“Since Sierra Leone recorded the first Ebola case in May 2014, a total number of 8,704 people were infected and 3,589 have died, 221 of them healthcare workers, all of whom we remember on this day,” it stated.
The country now enters a 90-day period of enhanced surveillance which will run until February 5, 2016 and WHO said it would continue to support Sierra Leone during the period.
The World health body highlighted this new phase is critical for ensuring early detection of any possible new case of Ebola virus disease.
WHO commended the Government of Sierra Leone and its people on achieving the significant milestone in the country’s fight against Ebola.
“Sierra Leone achieved this milestone through tremendous hard work and commitment while battling the most unprecedented Ebola virus disease outbreak in human history,” the statement said.

 


ebolaManagement of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) has quarantined 15 persons of the Accident and Emergency ward following an Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) scare.
The decision of the management to quarantine them was due to the death of an out-patient on Wednesday suspected to have symptoms of Ebola.
The patient, whose identity could not be ascertained, more than 24 hours after, was said to have manifested symptoms likened to that of an EVD patient before he died.
In a press statement made available to newsmen in Calabar yesterday, the UCTH authorities said the patient might have died of Haemorrhagic fever.
Chairman of the Medical Advisory Council, UCTH, Dr. Queeneth Kalu, said the blood sample of the patient had been sent for testing, while identified contacts, numbering about 15 have been quarantined.
“On Wednesday, October 7, 2015, we managed a patient who presented with symptoms mimicking viral Haemorrhagic fever. Due to the remote chance of it being contagious, we have sent the blood samples for testing and quarantined identified contacts. Further information will be made available as soon as we receive the results of the samples for analysis.
“The National Centre for Disease Control, Federal Ministry of Health, Cross River State Government and the Department of State Services had been informed of the development.”
Also speaking, Dr. Sunday Omini, the ministry’s Director Public Health, said he doubts if the symptoms are that of Ebola, adding that it could be that of Dengue fever or Lassa fever.
He added that government is handling the situation and called for calm.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has dispatched a medical team to Calabar to ascertain the suspected Ebola scare.
Director of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Prof. Abdulsalam Nasidi confirmed the development yesterday. -The Sun

EBOLA-300x168The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that if the current intensity of case detection and contact tracing is sustained, the Ebola virus can be soundly defeated by the end of this year.

The WHO director-general, Dr. Margaret Chan, said this in New York yesterday, while briefing the United Nations Security Council on the Ebola situation in Africa.

She said that the generous surge of support by the international community had an impact on the successes recorded so far.

Chan said, “Surveillance and response capacities have vastly improved. We have a very good picture of current chains of transmission, and know how to break them. Full genome sequencing of viruses can be done within 48 hours of case detection, yielding clues for the detective work of tracing the origins of each and every single case.”

She stated that new cases in Liberia have again stopped while Guinea and Sierra Leone have together reported only three cases during each of the past two weeks, representing the lowest numbers seen in well over a year.

She noted, “This is a night-and-day difference from the situation less than a year ago. I can assure you, the progress is real, and it has been hard-earned”.

“Most credit for this progress goes to unwavering leadership at the highest level of government. At the same time, I must caution against a false sense of security. All it takes is a single undetected case in a health facility, one infected contact fleeing the monitoring system, or one unsafe burial to ignite a flare-up of cases.

“Further setbacks, such as the one experienced by Liberia at the end of June, can be expected. We are grateful to the government for reporting that event immediately and mounting such an impressive response.’’ – Leadership

President-Ellen-Johnson-Sirleaf-300x197The ambassador of Liberia to Nigeria, Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh, has said that Liberians would forever be grateful for Nigeria’s contribution to the ECOMOG in the nineties that renewed peace and democracy in Liberia, calling for a robust bilateral relationship between both countries.

On the occasion of Liberia’s 168th independence anniversary in Abuja, the envoy said that Liberia has deepened its bilateral relation with Nigeria at an opportune time when Nigeria is rated the largest African economy following a rebasing exercise of the size and structure of its economy in 2014.

He said, ‘’In this context, Liberia and Nigeria concluded a joint commission on July 14-15, 2015 by signing the following agreements: bilateral trade cooperation agreement, agreement on cultural cooperation, MOU on cooperation in geology, mining, mineral processing and metallurgy, agreement on educational cooperation, and an agreement for the training of Liberia foreign service officers.’’

Amb. Conteh noted that, the joint commission will work to implement these agreements and to increase the volume of trade between the two countries, which is currently at a nadir of about $5 million.

He, however, thanked the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for its significant contribution to Liberia, through the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) and the African Union (AU), of cash donations and volunteers respectively to combat Ebola in Liberia.

He said, ‘’The Government of Liberia now has the experience to control the spread of Ebola. Its effective Incidence Management System (IMS) has brought the situation under control.

“The four remaining cases recovered and have been released. Liberia now has no confirmed case of Ebola. Liberia is now embarking on a post-Ebola development strategy with national priorities of rebuilding the health system, infrastructure, economic development and reconciliation to reverse the negative trend in falling economic growth, to renew Liberia’s momentum of sustainable development that would enable the country to attain middle income status by 2030 (Vision 2030).’’

‘’The Liberian embassy in Abuja continues actively to represent Liberia in Nigeria and at the ECOWAS Commission attending all major events and contributing to bilateral relations and the growth of the regional body and its Member States,’’ he added. -Leadership News

Ebola ASIAA Nigerian vaccinologist, Simon Agwale, has presented a report of an experimental vaccine for the dreaded Ebola virus disease to a scientific conference in France.

In a statement, Yuri Nakamoto, on behalf of the scientific committee of the conference organised by the Pasteur Institute, Paris, said the report was one of the items discussed at the two-day conference.
The International Conference Targeting Ebola had more than 300 delegates from 42 countries in attendance, Mr. Nakamoto said in the statement.

He said that the agenda of the conference included 140 oral, short and posters communications, latest developments in the Ebola outbreak in Africa, and latest clinical developments.

Others were latest innovations, vaccines and drugs to combat Ebola, and prevention of Ebola contamination and transmission, to be published by the committee.

“Agwale, alongside Epie E. and Pushko P. of Innovative Biotech Ltd, Keffi, Nasarawa State, and Innovative Biotech USA Inc, made a presentation on ‘Construction and Evaluation of a Highly Immunogenic EBOLA Influenza VLP Vaccine Candidate’.

“They prepared and evaluated EBOV VLPs that included GP of EBOV Zaire strain in which VLPs were expressed using recombinant baculovirus in Sf9 cells.

He quoted the researchers as saying that they had developed and evaluated an EBOV candidate vaccine that was highly immunogenic in mice.

“Given the immediate need for an Ebola vaccine and the efficiency, safety and adaptability of our VLP platform technology, we are confident in producing a high yield, high quality product using the most cost effective methodologies available, they said.

The researchers said that the vaccine approach could be used for mass vaccination in Africa to prevent EBOV infections and future epidemics of the deadly disease.

They announced that they were also using their platform technology to develop vaccines against HIV, malaria and other diseases that plaque Africa.

bush-meat-ebolaMr. Segun Ajetumobi, a retired teacher based in Akure, Ondo State, had lived his youthful days as a active lover of different varieties of bush meat.

His passion for this delicacy also made his wife and children to fall in love with eating bush meat. Now old and all the children grown up with some of them living outside the country, Ajetunmobi’s love for the soup cooked with meat gotten from these wildlives wanes not. Recently, his first son, Damola, who lives in California, United States of America, visited Nigeria.

So he travelled down to Akure to see his parents. At dinner time in the evening, the table was set and the prayer said, Damola asked his mother politely “I hope this soup is not cooked with bush meat as usual?” When his mother answered in the affirmative, Damola stormed out of the house like a boy stung by wasp, crying for help. He has not completely forgiven his parents for what he called “attempted murder”.

Bashiru Bejide, a hunter who lives in Ilorin, Kwara State, returned from his hunting adventure about three months ago after he had killed three deer, one antelope and five grass-cutters, called Mama Aduke Eleran on phone, who lives in Eyenkorin near Ilorin, to come cart the games he had killed in the farm. Very unusual of Mama Aduke, she reluctantly told Bejide that she would only make the trip down to his house the following day.

On her arrival in the morning, Bejide was shell shocked by her readiness to under-price the animals he had thought would net him huge financial returns. Bejide was forced to ask his bush meat customer of decades what warranted her lack of interest, hence the giveaway price she wanted to pay for the meat.

To his chagrin, the woman told him that bush meat market has fallen due to a killer-disease called Ebola. She narrated to him how people now see them, bush meat dealers in the country, as those who willfully go about killing people in the name of selling meat. She added that she only honoured his call being an old partner.

She told Bejide bluntly that if he agrees to sell the animals at the price she earlier told him that she would salt-dry and keep them hoping that the stigma, which Ebola disease has given bush meat consumption in Nigeria would soon end.

Short of words, Bejide told her bluntly that he would rather give out all the meat to friends and kinsmen in the neighbourhood than to sell at the price that could barely fetch him the money he spent on buying pellets and gunpowder for his gun.

Despite the fact that the World Health Organisation, WHO, has certified Nigeria as Ebola-free nation consumers of bush meat are yet to begin patronizing the delicacy that has been seen notoriously nutritious by many for ages across Africa.

Bush meat is eaten in almost every towns and villages in Africa from pre-colonial days till now, waves of civilization notwithstanding. With the drastic drop in the patronage of bush meat market, some hunters and marketers as well are seen lamenting the doom that has ravaged their once prized commodity bush meat.

The medically confirmed link between Ebola Virus and some wild lives such as bat, monkey, gorilla and chimpanzee has grounded the once sprawling market of bush meat in Nigeria to a screeching halt. And the stigmatization of this cherished delicacy lingers even after the country has been cleared of any health threat as a result of the disease.

Akpan Idoresi, who lives in Abak, Akwa Ibom State and buys bush meat from major dealers from Oron, Ikot Abasi, said the lull has gone and the business is gradually rising again. “The only problem affecting bush meat business is this rainy season. It is difficult to capture many wild lives as is the case during dry season. Business is better now than before.

Though when the disease was the hit in town people were afraid to patronize us, because they were afraid of having the disease from bush meat as reported.” He noted that he has being selling bush meat and palm wine for decades. To him, it is difficult to believe that eating bush meat could ever cause Ebola.

He said he has not heard of such complaint in all the years he has been in the business. On the contrary, he added that people are still eating chicken without posing any health threat to them or the society. Most Nigerians, who are lovers of this delicacy like Idoresi, are still skeptical.

However, many will stop at nothing to buttress the argument that bush meat consumption is indeed too dangerous for human health. This category of people noted that all the animals indicted as carriers of this deadly disease are migratory. They noted that though the disease was first discovered in Central Africa in its outbreak in the 70s but resurfaced mostly in West Africa this year.

They added that since the animals medically considered as vectors for the disease move from place without any notice of relocation, it is safe to abstain from the consumption of bush meat. Saturday Mirror gathered that the sale of bush meat has not bounced back in all the markets scattered across the country.

Mama Kazeem, a bush meat marketer in Ota, Ogun State, who claimed she inherited the business from her late mother, said since the rumour that Ebola disease is found in some wild animals which are eaten as bush meat many people have abstained from its consumption.

She added that the news that the country is now Ebola-free has not changed anything, because the price still remains relatively low as it was while the fear of the life-taking disease was very pronounced in the country. Some Nigerians, however, have resolved never to stop eating the delicacy despite the link that medical experts claimed it has with the Ebola Virus. One of them, who pleaded anonymity, said “I cannot do without bush meat.

It has always been my delicacy right from my childhood days as a ‘bush boy’. I still eat it anytime I feel like eating it.” To him, eating or abstaining from it is nothing but “a thing of the mind.” Another man, whose view corroborated the argument above, said “Nothing, not even Ebola or something deadlier, can stop me from eating bush meat.”

According to him, those bandying the rumour are only being mischievous. Like those that are making their money from selling bush meat mostly along with palm wine or locally brewed gin, called Ogogoro, he noted that those who know the taste of real meal never abstained from eating it for once.

Some ardent lovers of this famous African delicacy blamed Western conspiracy for the sudden and orchestrated advice to drop the habit of eating this all time delicious meat that has been relished for generations. They claimed that the consumption of bush meat cut across social class, because both rich and poor eat bush meat, one of the best African delicacies.

Though many people agreed to the fact that indeed the outbreak of Ebola disease forced the bush meat business to nosedive but noted that the trade picked again after Nigeria is certified as an Ebola- free nation. Bush meat marketers on Balogun Street, Lagos Island, in a chat with Saturday Mirror, said they have stopped selling the bush meat ever since the Ebola disease broke and spread across West Africa like bush fire during dry season.

They added that though Nigeria has been certified Ebola-free nation by World Health Organisation, WHO, but most of their customers still dread buying their once cherished meat because of its link with the spread of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

To a trader, who simply identified herself as Iya Shekinat, she said she stopped selling bush meat because many simply see them as people who are selling what will bring humans like them to early grave. On what she now does to keep herself in trade, she said “I’m now selling dry fish. And I don’t think I’m in a hurry to return to bush meat business.” However, some of them noted that they do supply some customers who specially request for bush meat.

“We only buy bush meat now for those who order for it. They tell us the type of meat they want such as cobra, antelope, grass-cutter among others and the quantity. We’ll buy the bush meat and supply those that requested for it.

Besides that, we don’t buy bush meat for sale, especially here in Lagos again.” Ayo Ogunniyi, a local hunter based in Ile-Ife, Osun State, told Saturday Mirror that he still embarks on his regular hunting expedition to the vast forest where he kills all manners of wild lives for his domestic need and also for sale. According to Ogunniyi, his regular customers who come from cities like Osogbo and Ibadan still visit him to buy bush meat which they supply to their customers who scattered across cities in the South West, Nigeria, and Benin City.

When Saturday Mirror asked if he has stopped his wife from cooking assorted bush meat for his domestic meal, he said “I have no reason to stop eating bush meat at home. We cook it in soup, sauce and drink palm wine with it like the days of old.

Ebola or not, we relish bush meat delicacy daily in my house except we run out of it, which rarely happens.” A senior lecturer in medicine at the Ekiti State University, EKSU and Honorary Consultant Physician/Cardiologist at Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, EKSUTH, when asked if Nigerians could eat bush meat now that the country has been certified Ebola-free, said “Ebola index case in Nigeria was traced to an infected traveller from Liberia. Though, the zoonotic aspect of transmission is well documented in other countries but not in Nigeria.”

The doctor, who said his name should not be mentioned because of the sensitivity of the Ebola case and the nature of his job as a civil servant, added that “Ordinarily, Nigeria should be in post-epidemic surveillance phase, which will include the forest surveillance of recognised zoonotic host like bats and monkeys. This is definitely insufficient to conclude abstinence from eating bush meat.”

It would be recalled that Ebola Virus Disease, which has claimed thousands of lives in West Africa especially in Liberia and Sierra Leone, was brought to Nigeria through a Liberian Diplomat, Patrick Sawyer, who later died of the disease in a Lagos hospital.

Also, the disease killed a consultant doctor, Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, who attended to Sawyer, when he was rushed to the hospital from the airport when he landed in Nigeria. Bush meat, being one of the sources through which the disease spreads, medical experts have advised people to reduce if not total abstinence from it consumption, at least till the cure is found for the disease.

Meanwhile, while waiting for the generally accepted drug to cure the disease, many watchers of the dangers the disease have done bush meat business in Nigeria, noted that except government take proactive measure in saving the collapse of bush meat trade in the country, one of the enduring African legacies may be gone forever.

To these people, if no concerted effort is made by government at all levels in the country, the warning to dread bush meat intake may soon crash the business beyond redemption. This, they concluded, should be done without delay.

nigeria-ebolaThe International Criminal Court yesterday gave prosecutors a week to de­cide whether to proceed with their case a gainst Ke­nyan President Uhuru Ke­nyatt a for crimes against humanity or to withdraw the charges.

Prosecutors say Kenyatta, accused of orchestrating a wave of deadly violence after Kenya’s 2007 elections, has used his political power to obstruct their investigation, especially since becoming president last year. They had asked for the case to be sus­pended until they had enough evidence to proceed.

The cases against Kenyatta and his Deputy President Wil­liam Ruto are the highest-pro­file proceedings in the history of the court set up 11 years ago to try cases concerning grave international crimes that local courts cannot handle.

The court has finished only three cases, all involving little-known Congolese war­lords, and has yet to show that it can hold the most powerful offenders to account. Judges agreed that Kenya had not co­operated in “good faith” with the court, but decided against referring the matter to the body representing the court’s 122 member states, saying a referral would not help bring about a fair trial.

Prosecutors did secure one small victory in that the court did not acquit Kenyatta of the charges, as his lawyers had requested. That means the charges could be brought again in future if more evi­dence becomes available. -SunNews

mali_ebola_girlThe authorities in Mali have confirmed the death of the country’s first Ebola patient, a two-year-old girl.

The World Health Organisation said the toddler had travelled hundreds of kilometres by bus from Guinea through Mali showing symptoms of the disease.

More than 40 people known to have come into contact with her have been quarantined.

The girl was being treated in the western town of Kayes, after arriving at a hospital on Wednesday.

The child had travelled more than 1,000 km (600 miles) from Guinea through the capital, Bamako, to Kayes.

“The child’s symptomatic state during the bus journey is especially concerning, as it presented multiple opportunities for exposures, including high-risk exposures, involving many people,” the WHO said.

The girl’s mother died in Guinea a few weeks ago and the child was then brought by relatives to Mali.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have seen most of the 4,800 Ebola deaths.

In the US, the governors of the states of New York and New Jersey have ordered a mandatory 21-day quarantine period for all doctors and other travellers who have had contact with Ebola victims in West Africa.

Anyone arriving from affected West African countries without having had confirmed contact with Ebola victims will be subject to monitoring by public health officials.

The moves go beyond anything so far announced at a national level by the Obama administration and come after a doctor, Craig Spencer, was diagnosed with Ebola following his return to New York from Guinea.

People in the city have expressed concern that Dr Spencer used public transport and restaurants before being diagnosed.
line

At the scene: Alou Diawara, BBC Afrique, Bamako
Map

People are afraid in Mali’s capital, Bamako, but life is carrying on as normal. A few people have stopped shaking hands but physically greeting people is an important part of life in Mali and for most this has not changed.

Some hotels have placed bottles of anti-bacterial gels at their entrances but for ordinary Malians, gel remains too expensive. The government has been running public information broadcasts telling people to wash their hands with soap. But though soap is not expensive, most still wash their hands with water alone.

Many Malians have friends and family in Guinea and several buses and taxis travel between the two countries each day.

With the support of the WHO, Mali’s health system has been preparing for an outbreak of Ebola for several months. But there is a culture here of visiting people when they are sick to wish them a speedy recovery.

This will have to change if Ebola becomes more widespread.
line

Mali has now become the sixth West African country to be affected by the outbreak, although Senegal and Nigeria have since been declared virus-free by the WHO.

The WHO has three experts in Mali evaluating its ability to cope with Ebola and will send at least four more over the next few days, spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said.

With porous borders, countries neighbouring Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are on high alert for possible imported cases of the virus, says BBC Africa health correspondent Anne Soy.
The BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse travels with an ambulance worker in Liberia

Vaccine boost

The World Health Organization (WHO) has meanwhile announced that hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses should be available in the first half of 2015.

WHO Assistant Director Dr Marie-Paule Kieny told a news conference in Geneva that five more vaccines would be in the clinical trial stage in January. Two are already being tested on humans.

Dr Marie Paule Kieny, WHO: “Pharmaceutical companies committed to ramping up production”

“The pharmaceutical companies developing these vaccines, as well as the ones which are a little bit further along the development path, are committing to ramping up the production capacity to millions of doses to be available in 2015 with hundreds of thousands ready in the first half of next year,” she said.

Vaccine trials in the worst-affected countries could begin in December, Dr Kieny said.

US nurses

In the US, two nurses infected with Ebola while caring for dying Dallas patient Thomas Duncan have been declared free of the virus.

One of them, Nina Pham, 26, had a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House, hours after being discharged.

“I feel fortunate and blessed to be standing here today,” she said. “I am on my way back to recovery.”

The other nurse, Amber Vinson, has also been declared virus-free, but she will remain in treatment in Atlanta until further notice.
Nina Pham met President Obama in the Oval OfficeNina Pham met President Obama in the Oval Office

Thomas Duncan died earlier this month and it is still unclear how the nurses contracted the virus while wearing protective clothing.

The news of the two nurses’ recoveries comes a day after a new US infection, the first in New York.

Craig Spencer, 33, began to feel tired on Tuesday and developed a fever and diarrhoea on Thursday. He had recently returned from Guinea where he had been working for medical charity, Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Dr Spencer is being kept in isolation at New York’s Bellevue Hospital.
line

Ebola virus disease (EVD)

How Ebola survivors’ blood is saving lives

Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
Spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva
Fatality rate can reach 90% – but current outbreak has mortality rate of about 70%
No proven vaccine or cure
Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be virus’s natural host

Gov-Babatunde-FasholaLagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has urged the Federal Government to shut the nation’s borders with neighbouring countries without delay to avert the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

 

The governor’s concern is coming on the heels of the controversy generated bythe case of a recent corpse from Liberia, said to have been routed through Lagos to Anambra State.

 

Fashola, while speaking with Journalists yesterday, at Ikeja House, noted that, “This is no longer a local, but an international problem. This is because it is easily transmittable across the borders and boundaries. The Federal Government team has been working with the state team. I think what the Federal Government needed to do at this time is to consider the imperative of closing some of our borders.

 

“It is difficult to stop this epidemic. We must now choose the treaty obligations that we hold under the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) treaty and perhaps short term benefits in terms of economic cost to human life.

 

“We must make that choice and consider it very seriously. It is a national security issue. I think we should give it that attention. I think men and women who man our border posts-sea, air and land, especially the customs, now know that they are our first line of defence.”

 

Fashola said there is no pretence about the issue of such importance, saying few West African countries who are at the epicenter of the virus pose danger to others.

 

He said:“I believe some of the countries were Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. There is a risk to the entire sub-region. I like to appreciate all the health workers at the state level for the very professional manner they have responded while I was out of the country.”

 

Giving update on the Ebola issue, Professor Abdulsalami Nasidi  of the National Center For Disease Control (NCDC) who briefed the press with Lagos State Government officials, allayed fears on possible outbreak from the corpse brought in from Liberia .

 

He said, “All the handlers of the corpse brought into the country from Liberia will be registered and tracked. And those who accompanied the corpse to Anambra and the mortuary handlers are under quarantine in Anambra State.

 

“Our team in Anambra State will tomorrow (today) give us the statistics of those who came in contact with the corpse.”

 

On the collaboration with other countries, Nasidi explained that  the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Aviation and  the Federal Government will soon issue directives on matters of bringing corpse into the country.